Probate Attorney in Benton
Caring & Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer
Losing a loved one is a difficult process. At Levanti Law, our goal is to help alleviate some of the stress by handling your probate case with care.
With 17 years of legal experience and a focused interest on handling probate cases, William Levanti allows you to rest easier knowing your case is in his capable hands.
Call (618) 717-4409 to get started with a free consultation. We serve clients in Benton, Franklin County, and the surrounding areas.
Probate is the court process of administering an estate after the death of a loved one. This process may include determining the validity of a last will and testament, appointing an executor, settling disputes, and overseeing the proper fulfillment of your loved one’s wishes.
Alternatively, if the decedent did not leave a last will and testament, the court will appoint an administrator. The appointed party is responsible for collecting and overseeing the distribution of the estate according to state law.
Upon your death, whatever you own becomes the property of your estate. Small estates can be administered using affidavits. Estates that exceed a certain value must be administered with court supervision. A petition must be filed, and letters of office must issue to an estate representative authorizing the power to administer the estate. An estate representative is vested with the authority to marshal estate assets, settle estate debts and oversees the distribution of bequests to beneficiaries. An estate representative is bound to provide an accounting to the court and to the beneficiaries prove the appropriate administration of the estate.
Is Probate the Right Option?
Before you make your decision, you should figure out if probate is right for you and your family.
When considering your options, take the following steps:
- Determine if the decedent left a will.
- Compile a list of potential heirs, including parents, spouses, children, grandchildren, and siblings. Notate full names, addresses, and contact information for each person.
- Determine what assets the decedent held, including property, bank and investment accounts, businesses, IRAs, insurance policies, and 401(k) accounts. Once you’ve tracked down these assets, be sure to collect any legal documents, such as deeds, title insurance policies, beneficiary statements, or business agreements. For a comprehensive look at your loved one’s assets, we recommend reviewing income tax returns.
- Write up a list of the decedent’s debts, including mortgages, lines of credit, credit cards, and utility bills. Usually, the best way to determine creditors of the deceased is by collecting the mail and checking for bills or invoices.