Transferring assets and going through belongings can be a stressful time for any Alabama family. The process is made a little easier through estate planning.
Even with a detailed estate plan, most estates will have to go through probate court still. How long going through probate court takes depends entirely on the estate plan in place.
How does probate court work?
The family member or friend named executor in the will is the person who will work with the court throughout the probate process. During this time, the executor files the will and once it’s proven valid, that’s the end of the probate process.
If there’s no will, the probate court will appoint any interested party – a surviving spouse or child, other family members, etc. – to act as administrator of the estate. During this time period the administrator is responsible for going through their loved one’s belongings and distributing them accordingly.
What’s the difference between executor and administrator?
Oftentimes, the executor will also take on the responsibilities of an administrator. This means that both executors and administrators are responsible for:
• Distributing assets and properties to any beneficiaries or heirs
• Paying off any debts the deceased left
• Paying estate taxes
If your loved one left a detailed estate plan, this is a relatively easy job. If they didn’t, then this process can take months or even years to sort out.
How long will it take?
It depends on how much estate planning has been done. If there is no will, surviving family members and friends can spend a long time in court figuring out who gets what.
The actual process of just going through a person’s belongings in order to start estate administration can be lengthy too. That’s why it’s so important to get all of your affairs in order as early as possible.