Probate

Probate is the court process for distributing a person’s assets to his or her family or chosen beneficiary upon the person’s death.  Many assets can pass directly without the need for probate; these assets may include life insurance proceeds, bank accounts with named beneficiaries, and houses that are jointly owned.  However, when a person has other assets that need to be distributed according to his/her will, or to that person’s heirs if he/she doesn’t have a will, a family member must petition the court to be appointed as the personal representative, to handle the deceased person’s outstanding financial affairs, and to effectively transfer ownership of that person’s assets.

Small estate affidavits

If a deceased person’s assets are low enough in value, the person handling the distribution of those assets may be able to use a simpler court process than the full probate process.  Whether or not this process can be used depends upon the value of both real property and personal property of the estate.

Guardianships and Conservatorships for Adults

Sometimes adults are unable to manage their own personal or financial affairs due to an accident, a disability, an illness, or another reason.  For example, a person may suffer from dementia, causing that person difficulties in remembering to take his or her medicine or in paying her bills.  The courts may appoint a guardian and/or conservator to help that person.  The process for appointing a guardian or conservator has many specific legal requirements and may involve a bond for that person.  We can help you through the process to help your loved one.