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For executors and heirs

We can help you manage a loved one's estate.


Manage a loved one's estate FAQs

  • Do all Wills have to go through probate?

    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.

    Properties that may not have to go through the probate process:

    • Property held jointly. In most cases, the property will go to the remaining owner.
    • Life insurance or assets with designated beneficiaries. Life insurance policies and other assets often have specifically named beneficiaries that may automatically receive their payout.
    • Property left in a Trust. Property left in a Trust is often available immediately.
    • Small estates. Sometimes state laws provide an expedited process for small estates.
  • How do I get a Power of Attorney for elderly parents?

    If your parent is still mentally alert, it is simple to make a Power of Attorney (POA) document allowing you or another appointed agent to manage their finances. If their health is already failing, it may be more difficult to obtain a POA.

    Getting a POA for healthy parents

    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 "springs" 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.

    Getting a POA for unhealthy parents

    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.

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Legal guides

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  2. What to Do When Someone Dies: A Step-by-Step Guide
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  3. Overview of the Estate Administration Process
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  4. Do I Need a Probate Lawyer or a Will Attorney?
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  5. Contesting a Will or Declaring it Invalid
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  6. How to Get a Copy of a Death Certificate
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  7. How to Refuse a Bequest
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  8. How to Avoid Inheritance Disputes
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  9. What Happens if my Loved One Dies without a Will?
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  10. Transferring Joint Property After Death
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  11. Do I need a Lawyer for Estate Administration?
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  12. The Probate Process
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  13. Executor and Trustee Duties: Handling a Loved One's Estate
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  14. Will You Owe Gift Taxes if You Are Giving or Receiving a Large Gift?
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  15. How To Choose the Right Executor for Your Will
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