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Dubuque Probate Attorneys

Helping You Navigate the Probate Process in Iowa

When a loved one passes away, their estate must go through the probate process before their assets can be distributed to their heirs. This process can be complex and confusing, especially if you are grieving the loss of your loved one. At Pearson Bollman Law, our Dubuque probate attorneys can guide you through every step of this process, making sure that everything is handled correctly and efficiently. Our team is here to help you and your family honor your loved one’s final wishes.

Contact us online or call (515) 298-8850 to learn how we can help you with the probate process.

What Is Probate?

Probate is a formal, court-supervised legal process that occurs after someone's death to authenticate their will (if one exists) and appoint an executor or personal representative who will administer the estate. This includes settling the deceased's debts and distributing their assets as per the instructions in the will. In the event there is no will, the probate court appoints an administrator to handle these tasks, usually distributing the assets according to state law.

Probate can often be a lengthy and costly process, involving paperwork and court appearances, and it's generally a matter of public record. However, not all assets need to go through probate. Some assets, like life insurance payouts or property held in joint tenancy, can bypass the process.

What Are the Steps of the Probate Process?

Typically, the probate process takes from six months to a year to complete, but it can take longer if the estate is large or if there are any disputes. When this happens, the process can sometime take up to three years. The probate process can be complicated, but an experienced probate attorney can help you navigate it successfully.

The probate process in Iowa involves several steps to ensure the legal transfer of a deceased person's assets under the supervision of the court. Here's a general overview of what the process looks like:

  1. Filing a Petition: The probate process begins with filing a petition at the district court. This could be to admit the will to probate, or in cases where there is no will, to appoint an executor for the estate.

  2. Appointment of Executor or Administrator: If there is no will, the court appoints an executor. For estates with a will the court will need to approve the executor.

  3. Inventory and Valuation of the Estate: The executor is responsible for making an inventory of the deceased person's assets and getting them valued.

  4. Notification to Creditors: The executor must publish a notice to creditors, informing them of the decedent's death so they can make claims against the estate. Creditors have four months publication of this notice to make claims.

  5. Settlement of Debts and Taxes: The estate's debts and taxes are paid off from the estate's assets. If there are disputes about claims, these may need to be resolved in court.

  6. Distribution of Remaining Assets: After debts and taxes are paid, the remaining assets are distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries according to the will or state law if there is no will.

  7. Closing the Estate: Iowa law requires that an estate be closed within three years of publishing the second notice to creditors, unless the court grants an extension.

It's important to note that this is a simplified overview of the probate process in Iowa. Each situation can have unique factors that may affect the process. Consulting with a legal professional can help ensure all legal requirements are met and the process goes as smoothly as possible.

Why Do I Need a Probate Attorney?

The probate process can be complex and time-consuming. If you make a mistake, you may be held personally liable for any losses that the beneficiaries suffer as a result of your mistake. An experienced probate attorney can help you navigate the probate process and avoid any mistakes. At Pearson Bollman Law, our Dubuque probate attorneys can help you with every step of the probate process, from filing the will and inventorying the assets to paying the estate’s debts and taxes and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries.

We offer free initial consultations, so you can meet with us and learn more about your options without any obligation. Call us at (515) 298-8850 or contact us online to get started.

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What Makes Us Different
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    With decades of experience between our attorneys and staff in estate planning and elder law, we are a premier Iowa law firm that has the skills you need in your corner.
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    When it comes to estate planning, we have a well-defined process that is tried and true, working well for thousands of clients in the past.
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