"Probate" is a term that is often mentioned (well, maybe not often) but many people don't understand what it really involves. Probate is the legal process where, through a court-supervised system, a deceased individual's assets are transferred to their rightful heirs/beneficiaries; taxes are paid; and debts/claims are handled. The probate process also includes the validation of a will.
It is not necessary to have the attorney who drafted the will handle the process. The "administrator" or "executor" can select whatever attorney they choose. The administrator or executor is the individual appointed by the court to handle the various steps in probating an estate.
In Iowa, the probate process primarily consists of 5 stages.
- The filing of the initial set of documents to open the estate.
- Publication of notice in a newspaper for filing of claims and giving notice to heirs and creditors.
- Waiting the time period for the filing of any claims or contests to the will.
- Filing of the report and inventory and payment of taxes.
- Distribution to beneficiaries/heirs and discharge of the executor/administrator.
Every state is different in how the probate process is administered and you should contact a knowledgeable attorney to handle the probate process. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the probate process in Iowa.