The probate process in Alabama can be very overwhelming for someone that’s been appointed to act as executor or left to handle things after a loved one dies. Thankfully, there are a few different housekeeping items that can help make the probate process go smoother.
What to do before opening probate?
There are a few things that need to be done before estate probate can be filed. First, you’ll want to go through any estate planning documents and take inventory of any other important documents. You’ll be on the lookout for things like:
- Bank statements
- Stock and bond certificates
- Titles to cars, boats, etc.
- Deeds to any real estate
- Any business records
- Life insurance policies
Filing the estate probate
After you’ve taken inventory of important documents, you’ll want to work with an estate lawyer to open the probate estate. From there, you (or someone else) will be named as executor and the probate process can start.
The probate process will include things like valuing all of the assets, transferring assets and paying any final bills and estate expenses. Usually, these expenses will be paid out of the estate, but sometimes surviving family members will have to chip in – especially with estate taxes.
How long does the probate process take?
The probate process can take several weeks to months to complete, even for uncomplicated estates. A lot of how long probate takes depends on the assets involved, how active the beneficiaries are in the process, and how clear the estate plan was.
Regardless of how long it takes, you don’t want to rush through the probate process. Working with an attorney and taking your time is the best way to ensure the probate process goes as smoothly as possible.