Manage a loved one's estate FAQs
Most, but not all, Wills must go through the probate process. Probate is the process where the courts will decide the validity of a Will. If the Will is determined to be valid, an administrator will be appointed, debts will be settled, assets will be inventoried and real estate appraised. Then assets will be distributed. On average, probate takes six to nine months if the Will is not challenged.
If your parent is still mentally alert, it is simple to make a Power of Attorney (POA) document allowing you or another appointed agent manage their finances. If their health is already failing, it may be more difficult to obtain a POA.
Obtaining a POA while your parents are healthy is hassle-free. You can simply log in to your Rocket Lawyer account and make a POA document. You can create a POA that begins immediately or make it a "Springing POA" which "spring" into effect when a certain situation is met, such as an illness. Your state may have unique signing requirements that you'll need to follow. When you finish making the document the Rocket Lawyer app will tell you who needs to sign it to make it valid in your state.
If your parent is incapacitated or not mentally healthy enough to sign a POA, you need to petition the courts to obtain adult guardianship of your parent. As a "guardian" you will be able to take care of your parent's health and financial matters. Your local clerk's office should be able to tell you how to start the proceedings.