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What happens to my loved ones' assets when they die?

The days after a loved one's death are traumatic and can bring out a lot of emotions. Some aren't pleasant, but you'll still have to contend with them. One thing that you need to do is to think logically about the decisions you have to make in the upcoming days and weeks.

When a person passes away, their estate may need to go through the probate process. This is a court process that ensures the person's assets are distributed in accordance with their estate plan if there is one or the state's laws if there isn't an estate plan. Because of the requirement for probate, many estates are limited in what can be distributed prior to the conclusion of probate.

Can you take sentimental items out of the home?

Some people worry about what is going to happen to items that hold sentimental value and similar things that are located in the decedent's home. The answer isn't always apparent at the start of the probate process. There are several things that you have to know when you're in this position.

  • Nothing should be taken out of the house until the fate of the home is determined and possibly until probate is finalized.
  • The home may be handed down to an heir or it might be sold.
  • If a home is passed to an heir, items in the home usually go to that heir unless they are covered in the will or in trusts.
  • Items in the home are likely going to be removed and passed down to heirs or liquidated if the home is sold.

What happens if you don't agree with how things are being handled?

The probate process is a strict one that is set by the law. It's possible to file a contest of the estate if you have a valid reason to do so and meet the requirements. You should weigh the options to handle the matter, but don't neglect acting because of the impact it might have on your family.

You should ensure that you receive everything that your loved one wanted you to have or that you're due. This might require you to take legal action, so discuss the possibilities with your attorney.

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