Estate planning lawyer North Kingstown, RI

Where Should I File For Probate?

When a loved one passes away there is so much to attend to, in addition to the immediate emotional toll, there are added tasks to be handled. Such as reaching out to family members, making funeral arrangements, and settling your loved one’s Estate. This can include the transfer of property and assets to the heirs listed in their last will and testament if they have one. Unfortunately, this isn’t as simple as it seems, many cases often must go through probate. Probate is necessary when such loved one passes away with an asset(s) in their name alone, without a living joint owner, or a living beneficiary. Probate is the legal process of settling an Estate, which includes taking inventory of your loved one’s assets, settling their debts, and distributing assets according to their will. 

The location where you should file for Probate depends on several factors, primarily the deceased person’s residence at the time of their death and the laws of the jurisdiction in which they lived. Our North Kingston estate planning lawyer can help you determine the jurisdiction for your loved one. Additionally, here are a few guidelines that may be beneficial to where you should file for probate.

  • Residence of the Deceased: Probate proceedings typically take place in the jurisdiction (such as a town, state, or country) where the deceased person had their primary residence at the time of their death. This means you would file for probate in the probate court of that jurisdiction. Rhode Island, as an example, has local probate courts located in each town/city throughout the State. 
  • Real Estate Ownership: If the deceased person owned real estate in multiple jurisdictions, ancillary probate proceedings may be required in those additional locations. This ancillary probate proceedings ensure the property is properly transferred according to the laws of each jurisdiction. 
  • Assets Location: If the deceased person had assets located in other jurisdictions, such as bank accounts, stocks, or vehicles, you may need to address those assets through ancillary probate proceedings and those jurisdictions as well.
  • Legal Advice: It’s often advisable to consult with a probate attorney who is familiar with the laws of jurisdiction where the deceased person lived. They can provide guidance on where to file for probate and assist you throughout the probate process.
  • Court Procedures: Once you determine the appropriate jurisdiction, you would need to file the necessary probate documents with the probate court in that area. The court will often oversee the administration of the estate, including the distribution of assets to the beneficiaries and the settlement of debts and taxes. 

In summary, the general rule is to file for probate in the jurisdiction where the deceased person had their primary residence at the time of their death. However, specific circumstances, such as owning property in multiple jurisdictions, may require additional probate proceedings in those locations. Consulting a probate attorney can help ensure that you navigate the probate process correctly and efficiently. Generally, according to the American Bar Association it can take around 6 to 9 months to probate and estate. However, probate laws vary based on the State, which can affect the length of the probate administration. Determining factors that can affect the timeline of probate proceedings are the State that the deceased lived in, the size of the estate, whether the deceased had a Will, or if that Will is contested in Court. Most importantly, creating a Will and/or a Trust can make the probate process a little easier.

If you need guidance on probate, reach out to McCarthy Law, LLC today. We’re here to help.

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