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What should you know about probate in Delaware?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2023 | Estate planning

Before you begin creating your estate plan, consider the various legalities that can affect asset distribution.

Probate can be complex. Understanding the process and how to avoid it could save your family from a significant burden.

What is probate?

Probate is a court process that carries out the last wishes of a deceased person by validating their will, resolving their debts and distributing their assets. It exists to address inevitable aspects of death, such as funeral arrangements and estate taxes, before people dive in to lay claim to your things. It also ensures every beneficiary receives their inheritance.

What does the personal representative do?

One of the first steps in the Delaware probate process is the appointing of a personal representative. They are responsible for filing a petition for the following:

  • Locating and managing probate assets
  • Filing a petition for probate
  • Communicating with the beneficiaries of your estate
  • Valuing and distributing assets according to your will or local law
  • Notifying creditors

Every situation is different. Therefore, there can be many more responsibilities, such as filing tax returns and interpreting the will.

How can you avoid probate in Delaware?

Avoiding probate is ideal for most family members. In Delaware, you can do that by including a living trust in your estate plan. This allows you to list beneficiaries for your assets and control the trust while you are alive. Upon your death, your successor trustee will oversee property distribution. You can list anything from bank accounts and real estate to jewelry and cars in a living trust.

Remember, estate planning is not only for the wealthy. It is about carrying out your wishes.