Most Probate Court battles deal with the fact that your loved one may have said something to you that differs from the Will and now the person in charge (the executor) says that’s not apart of the Probate or better yet “it’s mine.”
So, what can you do about it?
First, you must understand the Probate Process and determine what should be included. In a nutshell three things happen: (1) a loved one passes, (2) the executor or someone else collects all the assets & debts, (3) that same distributes the assets. Seems pretty straightforward, right?
Well it is. But far too often, during the collect the assets & debts portion items come up missing. It’s not that they vanquish in mid-air, but rather a loved one says that “it belongs to me” and that’s very confusing since you know for a fact that your loved on purchased it several years ago. So, what do they mean “it belongs to me”?
Remember when someone passes there will be Probate and Non-Probate assets. A non-Probate asset is any asset that can transfer to a loved one without the Probate Court’s assistance. So, a joint-bank account, life insurance policy, and IRA are all Non-Probate. A piece of Real Estate and its contents could be too. As a result, there may be something that’s in the name of a loved one that doesn’t pass to you because you’re not the beneficiary. Now that you know if an asset should be included in the Probate Process you can now protect your interest.
Second, Pay attention and file Objections. During the Probate Process, you will receive Notices from the Probate Court if you are a Next of Kin. When you receive these notices it’s important for you to Object when necessary. The time to Object will be when you receive Notice of the Inventory and Appraisal. This is where the Probate Court lists all of the assets of the Decedent.
The Objections must be written and supported by other evidence. Once you make the Objections, there may be a Hearing that you must attend and present evidence. This evidence may be witness testimony, bank statements, photographs, and any other evidence to support your claim.
The Third and last thing that you can do when someone claims “it’s mine” is to file a Concealment Action. A Concealment action is a special type of lawsuit that suggests a fiduciary (or person entrusted to safeguard the loved ones property) is hiding or concealing property from the Probate Court. And as a result you may be entitled to recover the assets and additional compensation from the fiduciary. This is not something that we recommend that you handle on your own.
Give us a Call today at 740.346.2899.