Will Attorney Serving Alabama
At The Hawkins Law Firm, we handle every type of probate matter for our clients in Guntersville, Huntsville, and Arab, Alabama and surrounding communities, including estate administration, conservatorships, guardianships, and probate litigation.
The administration of an estate will differ depending upon whether the decedent left a will or died intestate. In either case, the estate will be administered through a process known as probate.
Probating a Will
The term “probate” is derived from the Latin term meaning “to prove the will.” Probate refers to the process by which a court oversees the administration of a deceased person’s estate. The purpose of the probate process is to ensure that any final debts, taxes, and expenses are paid, and the remaining assets are distributed to the beneficiaries named in a will, or if there is no will, in accordance with Alabama’s laws governing intestate succession. A will must be probated in order to have legal effect.
Upon a person’s death, anyone named in the will as the personal representative of the estate, any person receiving property under the will or having a financial interest in the estate, or the person having possession of the will, may have the will proved before the proper probate court. Under Alabama law, the person in possession of the will must deliver the will to the probate court or to the person who is to have the will probated. A will must be filed for probate within five years from the date of the testator’s death. Wills are generally filed in the county where the deceased person lived, but under some circumstances may be filed in the county where the deceased owned property.
The steps for the administration of an intestate estate are as follows:
- Petition is filed, and the personal representative takes immediate control of the estate
- Inventory of the estate is filed within two months
- Bond is made payable to the probate judge
- Notice is given to all heirs
- Letters of Administration are granted
- Notice to file claims must be published once a week for three weeks and individual notice must be given to known creditors of the deceased
- Claims against the estate must generally be filed within six months (generally, the estate cannot be divided and distributed until all claims and expenses have been paid)
- Court must approve all attorney’s fees
The nature and complexity of probate administration necessitate the assistance of an experienced probate attorney. Probate judges are not permitted to advise you of the law or assist you with the probate process.
Contact Us for Estate Planning Assistance
We welcome the opportunity to serve your estate planning, probate, and trust administration needs. Contact The Hawkins Law Firm to schedule a consultation with an experienced trust and will attorney.