What is Probate and How Does it Work?
Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person. It includes identifying and collecting the deceased person's assets, paying any debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries named in the will or according to the laws of intestacy if there is no will.
The probate process is typically started by the filing of a petition with the probate court by an executor or administrator appointed by the court. The executor or administrator is responsible for managing the estate during the probate process.
The probate court will review the will, if there is one, and ensure that it is valid. The court will also appoint an executor or administrator if one is not named in the will, and will supervise the process of administering the estate.
What is the Probate Process in Missouri?
The probate process in Missouri typically involves the following steps:
- Filing a petition with the probate court: This is typically done by the executor or administrator of the estate. The petition is used to open the probate case and request that the court appoint the executor or administrator.
- Appointment of an executor or administrator: If there is a will, the person named as executor in the will will typically be appointed by the court. If there is no will, the court will appoint an administrator.
- Notice to creditors: Once an executor or administrator has been appointed, they are required to provide notice to any known creditors of the deceased person. Creditors have a certain period of time to file claims against the estate.
- Inventory and appraisal of assets: The executor or administrator is responsible for identifying and valuing all of the assets of the estate.
- Payment of debts and taxes: The executor or administrator must pay any debts and taxes owed by the estate before the assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries.
- Distribution of assets: Once all debts and taxes have been paid, the remaining assets of the estate will be distributed to the beneficiaries named in the will or according to the laws of intestacy if there is no will.
- Closing the estate: Once all assets have been distributed and all debts and taxes have been paid, the executor or administrator will file a final report with the court, and the probate case will be closed.
The probate process in Missouri may vary depending on the complexity of the estate, and the court's schedule. The probate process can be a time-consuming and costly process, and it can be avoided by implementing estate planning measures such as trusts, payable-on-death accounts, and transfer-on-death deeds.
Can I Legally Sell My House During Probate?
It is possible to legally sell a house during probate, but the process may be more complicated than if the sale were to occur outside of probate.
The executor or administrator of the estate is responsible for handling the sale of the property during probate. They will need to get court approval for the sale, as well as make sure that the proceeds from the sale are used to pay off any debts or taxes owed by the estate before distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.
The probate court will typically require that the executor or administrator sells the property at the fair market value, and the court will also have to approve any potential buyer of the property. In Missouri, before any sale can take place during probate, the court must order the sale of the property, and it must be done by public auction or private sale with court approval.
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