How do I probate an estate in Jefferson County when someone passes away? In Birmingham, a last will & testament is a legal document that is written by an individual, known as the testator, which states their wishes for when they have passed away. Last Will and Testaments generally include how the individual wishes for their real and personal property to be distributed upon their death. When handling the probate of estates in Jefferson County, it is always best to hire a local attorney to help.
Wills may also include the testator’s wishes for the care of their minor children if they have any. This is usually done by appointing a guardian, which means the testator will designate an individual that will parent and care for the testator’s children in the event of the testator’s death. The testator will also appoint an executor to handle the probating of the estate in Birmingham, Alabama.
The testator in Birmingham, Alabama may appoint anyone to be their executor as long as they are over the age of 18. When probating an estate in Jefferson County, it is best to have a local attorney to help. An executor tends to be a family member or friend of the executor, but a third party, like a bank, can also be appointed executor. The executor will be responsible for overseeing and distributing the testator’s estate according to the will.
The testator’s estate consists of every asset that the testator owned prior to their death. The executor or a beneficiary of the will can probate the will in Jefferson County. Probating a will in Alabama is the legal process of recognizing the deceased testator’s will, appointing an executor, distributing the testator’s assets, and closing out the testator’s estate.
Local Jefferson County Probate Attorneys
The entire probate process consists of numerous steps. First, a Birmingham Probate Petition and the will must be filed with the Jefferson County Probate Court, or whatever county the testator lived in prior to their death, and this must be done within five years of the testator’s death. Then, notice must be given to all of the testator’s heirs. Once in Probate Court, the judge will authenticate the will by examining it. The judge will ensure that the will is written, either typed or handwritten, and signed by the testator and two different witnesses.
These witnesses must be disinterested, which means that they will not benefit from the will. This is required because if someone contests the will, they will have to testify as to its validity in Probate Court. At this time, the judge will also officially appoint the named executor or another individual that they deem appropriate. Next, the executor must give notice to creditors that may have a claim against the estate, and if there are any creditors, then they will have to file a claim within six months of being notified. Once all claims and expenses have been taken care of, the executor can finally distribute and close the estate.
Probate in Birmingham, Alabama is a way to ensure that the deceased testator’s wishes are honored. Wills do not necessarily have to be probated in Jefferson County, but it is typically best if they are because a will is only given legal authority once it has been probated. This means that the testator’s property cannot be sold, distributed, or transferred unless the testator’s will has gone through probate. If you have any questions or are wanting to probate a will, contact our Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney in Birmingham today.