Contrary to what many people are led to believe, the Probate process is not the nightmare that it used to be. The Probate Code was modernized in 2055 by the passage of the Estates & Protected Indvidiuals Code (EPIC) which has enhanced the Probate process.
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When a person dies holding sole title to an asset, the Probate process is the avenue of transferring title. Whether the person has written a Will (Testate) or has passed without benefit of leaving a Will (Intestate), paperwork can be filed requesting the appointment of a Personal Representative who will be able to administer the Will and/or transfer title of sole-held assets.
Today, most Probate cases are filed as unsupervised or informal, which can be administered without the direction and/order of the Court. If one of the heir objects to a Personal Representative's actions, he/she can file an objection and the Court will then order it supervised, which means, title cannot be transferred without supervision and/or Court Hearing.
The Probate Court can determine the validity of a Will presented for administration should any of the heirs have a concern that it is a valid Will and the intentions of the Decedent are being followed as directed in the Will.
When a person creates a Trust, the Successor Trustee can take the necessary actions wherein they can immediately begin to administer the terms of the Trust without any Probate Court intervention. There are certain legal steps that must be taken following the death of the Grantor of a Trust, but that do not involve the Probate Court.
Trusts are very convenient in trasferring assets following death. The Court will on lbecome involved should one of the heirs object to an accounting presented to an heir or have a concern to which they want a Judge involved in making a correct transfer of assets.
A person can get appointed as legal guardian for the purpose of making the needed decisions for an "incapcitated person's" personal and living situations. Often, people need just a little help with overseeing that their living conditions are satifactory. In some cases, a Guardian would be responsible for placing a person in a nursing home or some other more appropriate living conditions and/or seeing that they obtain appropriate medical care. The Court will require an Annual Report on the Condition of Ward to be filed each year of the Guardianship and reviewed and approved by the Court.
If a person is determined to be incapacited, there is often a concern that their assets (home, bank accounts, other monetary assets) are in danger of being abused by another persona dn/or the incapacitated person lacks the "capacity" to manage their own financial affairs, the Court will appoint a Conservator. Once a Conservator has been appointed, the Court will require an annual accounting to the Court with a copy to all Interested Parties, meaining the heirs of the "Ward".