If there are assets in your Delaware estate when you pass, they will likely be subject to probate. During probate, your estate will be represented by an individual who is responsible for inventorying assets, reviewing creditor claims and other administrative tasks. This person is also typically responsible for ensuring that your will is submitted to the appropriate authorities in a timely manner.
What qualifies as an asset?
As a general rule, anything that was in your possession at the time of your death can be considered an asset. A home, car or art collection are examples of tangible items that will likely need to be accounted for during probate. However, smaller items such as a couch, set of golf clubs or kitchen appliances may also need to be included in an inventory.
An estate administration attorney may be able to help you compile a list of everything that you own prior to your passing. This may make it easier for the executor to find anything that will need to be transferred to beneficiaries.
How are creditor claims processed?
The executor is typically responsible for ensuring that tax, mortgage or other debts are paid in a timely manner. Creditors typically have four months after a probate proceeding begins to make a claim. In most cases, creditors cannot be paid if there are insufficient funds within the estate to do so.
When must a will be submitted to the court?
Typically, a will must be submitted within 30 days of a person’s death. However, it’s generally in an executor’s best interest to do so as quickly as possible. Doing so may minimize the amount of time it takes to settle a deceased person’s affairs and transfer assets to beneficiaries.
Ideally, you will choose an executor who pays attention to details, can adhere to deadlines and isn’t afraid to ask for assistance when necessary. An attorney may be able to assist your executor during probate to ensure that the process is completed in a timely and proper fashion.