Probate courts are special courts dealing with estates, trusts, and the protection of minors and incapacitated adults. There are several ways to end up in probate court. Examples are:
- Someone dies with assets titled only in his or her name, and has not made provision for the passing of those assets via a trust or deed Those assets, called “probate assets” are subject to probate court.
- Someone dies leaving a will, but not a trust. The will must go to probate court where the court will most often honor the decedent’s wishes as outlined in the will.
- If there is a dispute over assets in the decedent’s estate, called a will contest or a trust contest, the probate court will resolve the dispute.
Probate courts also handle the naming of a guardian for minor children and for incapacitated adults who have not named a healthcare patient advocate, and handle the naming of a conservator for minor children and for incapacitated adults who have not named a financial power of attorney.
Estate planning is often done to avoid probate court. You may find yourself in probate court when a loved one fails to plan for his or her estate, or fails to name a power of attorney or patient advocate and needs to have a guardian or conservator named as a result. Whatever the reason you find yourself in probate court, we are here to guide you through the process from start to finish, ensuring that you understand your options and striving for an efficient outcome at every step of the way.