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When a loved one passes away, the difficult task of concluding the deceased’s affairs quickly follows your family’s time of mourning and grief. Administering a loved one’s estate can be complicated, even when the decedent did not leave many assets. The process your loved one’s estate must go through is called probate, and navigating its various steps is made easier with help from a knowledgeable Cullman County probate attorney.

The Hankey Law Firm has been a fixture in the northern Alabama legal community since 2008. Attorney Shelbie Hankey is experienced in expertly guiding clients through all stages of the probate process. Contact our office if you need professional, compassionate assistance in concluding your loved one’s affairs.

Overview of the Probate Process in Alabama

When a loved one dies, there are several steps that you should take, beginning with the opening of a probate case in an appropriate court. If the decedent made a will before their death, you would file that along with your initial court filings. The court will accept those filings and schedule an initial hearing.

At the initial hearing, the court will decide whether to accept the will and make it a part of the probate proceedings, if applicable. The court will appoint a personal representative to oversee the decedent’s affairs. If the decedent named a personal representative in their will, that person would usually be appointed. Otherwise, the court may appoint any adult over 18 whom the court believes will faithfully carry out the job of a personal representative.

The personal representative accounts for the decedent’s assets, pays lawful debts and taxes, and distributes any remaining assets to the deceased’s heirs at law or beneficiaries.

At any stage of the probate process, legal challenges can surface that could delay probate proceedings and threaten the assets to pass to the heirs and beneficiaries. A skilled Cullman County probate lawyer assisting you in your role as personal representative can help you meet and overcome this position’s various challenges.

Legal Challenges to Cullman County Probate Cases

If you are an heir or beneficiary of the decedent, you have legal rights and options available during the probate process. A probate lawyer can help you protect and exercise these rights promptly and effectively.

Some of the rights you may have include the right to:

  • Challenge the validity of a will offered for admission into probate
  • Object to the appointment of a specific individual as personal representative for the decedent
  • Raise legal challenges to the way the personal representative is fulfilling their duties
  • Request an early distribution of property and assets owed to you under the law or terms of a will

To exercise these and other rights, you must raise these issues correctly and within a specific time frame. Failing to do so can mean the loss of your rights. For this reason, you should consider hiring an Alabama probate lawyer early to help ensure your rights are protected.

Contact the Hankey Law Firm, Your Cullman County Probate Attorney, Today

The Hankey Law Firm and our Alabama probate attorney Shelbie Hankey are ready to step in and help ensure your loved one’s wishes are respected and your rights safeguarded throughout the probate process. Call our office today.