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Navigating Estate Administration

When a loved one passes on, the task of dispersing their estate may be the last thing on your mind. While you may need to focus on the grieving process after your loss, someone still needs to attend to the probate process. Thankfully, you can get the help you need from a skilled Iowa attorney.

At Stuart Tinley Law Firm LLP, we can guide you through the challenges of your estate administration and probate needs. Our goal as your probate attorney is to settle things as quickly as possible for you, without sacrificing the quality of the outcome.

The Probate Process In Council Bluffs, Iowa

The probate process follows a preplanned set of legal procedures. Upon an individual’s death, the estate executor or administrator reviews their assets and liabilities to determine how the properties will be distributed.

The process starts by identifying an executor or personal representative who may be mentioned in the deceased’s will or appointed by the court. Often, the deceased will appoint a trusted individual to fulfill this role.

However, if there is no will or the named executor is unable or unwilling to serve, the court may appoint a personal representative. This individual is usually a close family member, such as a spouse, adult child or sibling, but could also be a trusted friend or professional, such as an attorney or financial adviser.

In Iowa, the executor’s duties may include:

  • Locating and valuing assets
  • Paying debts and taxes
  • Distributing assets to beneficiaries according to the will or state law if there is no will

Probate can be complex and time-consuming, often taking several months or more to complete. Probate lawyers can ensure the deceased wishes are fulfilled and debts are appropriately settled.

How To Prepare For Probate

Planning for probate after your loved one’s passing requires careful attention to detail and adherence to legal requirements. The process generally involves contacting an estate lawyer to begin:

  • Reviewing the will to understand the deceased’s intentions on asset distribution and executor appointment
  • Gathering crucial financial and legal documents such as deeds, titles, insurance policies and investment accounts
  • Filing the will with the probate court to validate its authenticity and appoint an executor or personal representative
  • Notifying creditors of the deceased’s passing and settling outstanding debts and taxes from the estate
  • Compiling an inventory of the deceased’s assets to determine the estate’s value and facilitate distribution

Seek guidance from an estate planning attorney to help you understand the legal requirements and navigate the probate process. Our estate and will lawyers can review the will, advise on probate procedures and represent you in court if necessary.

How We Can Help You

Proper estate administration may be more complicated than you initially expected. Instead of hoping you are doing enough for your loved one, let us act on your behalf. We can take care of all the matters that need attention in your unique situation, including:

  • Alerting any banks, utility providers or other necessary parties of the decedent’s passing
  • Gaining an accurate valuation of the decedent’s estate
  • Settling any income tax matters
  • Locating and securing assets
  • Collecting income from insurance policies
  • Filing necessary documents for probate court
  • Paying remaining debts
  • Distributing inheritance to beneficiaries

We know that each of these matters requires personalized attention and not the same boilerplate representation that you may get elsewhere, which is why we make it our mission to provide you with the custom-tailored representation you need to settle things swiftly and accurately.

Someone To Help You Through This

If you recently lost a loved one, let us help you make sure you settle their estate promptly and without complication. Call our Council Bluffs office at 712-261-6033 or email us here to schedule your initial consultation today. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner you can focus on moving forward after your loss.