Birmingham Probate Attorney
General Information about Probate in Alabama
To begin, a will is a document which provides for the manner in which a person's property will be distributed if he or she passes away. When someone dies after writing a will, it is said that they died intestate. In Alabama, in order to make a will you must be at least 18 years old, of sound mind, and free from improper influences by other people.
In order for a will to be valid certain requirements must be met; for example, it must be written and signed by its maker and witnessed by two people in accordance with the law. The probating of a will is the administration of an estate to ensure that all of the decedent's property has been disposed of properly.
Administration of an Estate
When someone dies without a will, it is called dying intestate. While each state has its own set of laws governing the distribution of property when someone dies intestate, most laws are very similar. When someone dies with a will, anyone named in the will as the personal representative or as someone who is to receive property, or anyone with a financial interest in the property, or anyone in possession of the will may have the will proved by the probate court. Under Alabama law, anyone in possession of the will must deliver the will to the probate court or a person who is able to have the will probated.
Whether a person died with or without a will, in the majority of cases the estate will have to go through probate proceedings in order to transfer the estate assets to the beneficiaries. The steps involved in opening probate include: 1) filing the petition, 2) take control of the estate, 3) inventory the estate, 4) bond, 5) provide notice to heirs, 6) letters of testamentary granted, 7) publish notice to file claims, 8) pay off creditors, and 9) court approves administrator's fees.
The personal representative will be appointed by the court to settle the estate; this person will be named in the will, or if there is no will, appointed by the judge. The personal representative will be responsible for a number of important duties including:
- Retaining assets
- Depositing funds in financial institutions
- Abandon personal property with no value
- Pay assessments
- Hold securities
- Settle with debtors
- Settle claims
- Pay taxes and expenses of the estate
- Sell or exercise stock options
- Maintain real property
- Provide accountings to the court
- Distribute assets among beneficiaries
Summary Probate in Alabama
If the estate does not exceed $25,000, a surviving spouse may request small summary probate after 30 days. Additionally, another heir may request a summary probate if there was no real estate. A summary probate may be advantageous because it is generally quicker and less costly than probate. Our Birmingham probate attorney can determine if summary probate is a valid and beneficial option for you and your loved ones.
Seek Personalized Representation in Birmingham
If you are serving as the personal representative of an estate, The Law Offices of Joshua Key can help you honor your late loved one's last wishes in
Jefferson County. The legal team understands that attempting to administer an estate while you are still grieving can be challenging, but we can simplify the process and make it easier to handle. We view our clients as individuals and try to make administering an estate as simple and stress-free as possible for them.
Take advantage of our free case evaluation for more information about your role as a personal representative.