PROBATE

WHAT IS PROBATE?

PROBATE IS THE LEGAL PROCESS OF MANAGING THE ASSETS AND AFFAIRS OF SOMEONE WHO IS UNABLE TO DO IT THEMSELVES

Probate covers three areas, Decedents’ Estates, Conservatorships, and Guardianships.

WHAT IS A DECEDENT’S ESTATE?

The assets, debts, expenses and income remaining after someone dies constitute a Decedent’s Estate. Someone must take care of this final business so the court appoints someone called a personal representative.  The Personal Representative stands in place of the decedent to take care of these things, Estate Administration.  In essence, Estate Admministration simply means controlling the assets, paying the bills and distributing the leftovers to heirs.  More On Decedents’ Estates

WHAT IS A CONSERVATORSHIP?

When a living person can no longer manage his or her own affairs a court will create a conservatorship. As a result, a third person takes over all decision making power for the incapacitated person. In a consertaviship hearing the incapacitated person, known as a conservatee, loses all ability to make their own decisions. As a result they can be forced to do things against thier will.  Consequently courts strictly protect the potential conservatee’s right to due process.  Thus the person seeking to create the conservatorship must clearly convince the court it is necessary.

WHAT IS A GUARDIANSHIP?

Guardianship protects a minor child who comes into a large amount of money, maybe through inheritance or an injury settlement. The court appoints a guardian to manage the child’s finances and spend money on things like medical treatment, schooling or athletics.  Court involvement ensures the conservator properly manages the money set aside for the child.  Guardianships end when the child becomes an adult or is emancipated.