Have you ever wondered what happens after you pass away? If you have signed a will, the person you chose at that time to be your Personal Representative will pay your final bills and gather any assets you may have in your name only at the time of your death, such as bank accounts, real estate, vehicles and other personal property. Some assets, such as financial accounts, life insurance, annuities and retirement accounts, often have a named beneficiary or a POD designation (Payable On Death); if so those assets pass directly to the designated person and do not come into your estate.
Your Personal Representative takes care of many details, such as making sure any personal property items, i.e. jewelry, furniture, guns and stamp collections – and everything in between – are delivered to the person(s) you may have named in a “Memorandum to Personal Representative”. If you have made no other arrangements, she or he may need to deal with the funeral home and disposition of your body. If enough assets are in your name only at the time of death (anything more than $20,000 value), your Personal Representative will need to be appointed by Probate Court. This is accomplished by filing a Petition for Informal Probate. Once the Personal Representative is appointed, we can continue to assist him/her in making sure that the required notices are given and the deadlines are met, as required by the Maine Probate Code.
Once the assets are all gathered and all the bills are paid, your Personal Representative is responsible for distributing your assets according to the terms of your will. Sometimes this process is very straight forward, sometimes it is more complicated, depending on the type of assets you have, the number of creditors who file claims, and the method of distribution you have requested in your will.
The attorneys at Griffin & Jordan are true experts in this field, with over 40 years of experience. We are ready to assist your Personal Representative to obtain the “Letters of Authority” necessary to do their work for you and to guide them through the Probate process. We know all of the pitfalls inherent in the probate of wills and we can navigate the Probate Court waters with your Personal Representative until each and every last thing is taken care of and the last form filed.