One of the roles of probate is to handle cases where an individual passes away without a will. When this occurs, the courts still have the ability to distribute the assets of the deceased based on state law. If you are not sure how probate will be handled for the deceased or if you would like to contest any decisions made by the court, you must get in contact with a probate attorney.

The Probate Court

The goal of the probate is to hold hearings on a petition to determine how assets will be distributed. The probate court will first try to determine if there is a will. If no will is discovered, the probate will proceed as an intestate estate and will follow the state laws. 

The probate court is responsible for appointing an individual to manage the estate. The representative who is appointed by the courts has the same responsibilities as an executor of a will and has to determine the value of the estate. They must pay any debts or taxes. They must also handle any legal disputes. 

The Heirs

Just because there is no will, this doesn't mean that there won't be any heirs. However, individuals who have a particular relationship with the deceased will receive a portion of the inheritance. If you are not certain whether you will receive a portion of the inheritance, you will want to speak with a probate attorney. 

For example, in some cases, distant relatives might be eligible. When there are no relatives who are eligible, there are usually no other parties that will receive the inheritance and it will instead go to the state. 

Distribution of Assets

Each state has its own rules regarding how the assets will be distributed among heirs if there is more than one. Therefore, you'll need an attorney to explain to you the particular rules of your state. For those pieces of property that you jointly owned, you will take full ownership of the property. However, for a property that was only owned by the deceased, it may be distributed through a hearing.

Because assets will be distributed through a hearing, you will likely need to work with a probate attorney to prepare yourself for the hearing if you are eligible to participate. Then, you can make proper arguments for why you should be entitled to specific pieces of property. Once the court has approved the agreement, the court will distribute the assets.

For more information, contact a probate attorney today.