What is Probate?

Last Will And Testament

Probate is the legal process of settling a deceased person’s estate. This includes validation of the will, an inventory and appraisal of the deceased’s property, payment of any debts or taxes owed, and ensuring remaining estate property is distributed in accordance with the will. If there is no will, the estate will be distributed to heirs according to North Dakota law.

There are some assets that are not included in the probate process, including life insurance proceeds, assets held in a trust, retirement plans and IRA’s, certain kinds of jointly held property, as well as gifts made prior to death.

What Does a Probate Attorney Do?

A probate attorney is a state-licensed attorney that can assist the personal representative or beneficiaries of an estate in going through probate while working to settle an estate. Probate attorneys help the personal representative accomplish a variety of things involved in settling estates, including:

  • Arranging property appraisals
  • Collecting any life insurance proceeds
  • Identifying and paying taxes that may be due
  • Moving assets to beneficiaries’ names
  • Identifying all of the estate’s assets
  • Paying debts and final bills
  • Making final asset distributions following the payment of bills and taxes
  • Opening and managing a checking account for the estate
  • Preparing and filing all related court documents

Do I Need a Probate Attorney in North Dakota?

While it’s not a requirement, hiring a probate attorney can be beneficial when it comes to navigating estate administration. Without adequate guidance, mistakes often occur and deadlines are easily missed, which can result in you spending more money than necessary while also delaying the distribution of assets to beneficiaries. In the event that you have a particularly complex or detailed estate, or you’re having an especially difficult time handling the passing of your loved one, a probate attorney will be quite helpful to making the process as smooth and quick as possible, and can often save you money.

Let Us Help

No matter how simple or complicated your probate needs may be, we have the experience to navigate it quickly and effectively. We know this is often an emotional process and the stakes can be quite high, so we’re here to ensure the estate is being handled appropriately.

At Severin Law Firm, we take a comprehensive approach to our client’s probate needs. We listen carefully and provide a thorough, personalized strategy meant to preserve the desires of the estate as much as possible.


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