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Protecting Your Loved Ones

Preserving Your Assets

South Dakota Probate Lawyers

Protect More of Your Family’s Assets

When you pass away, a necessary step in the process of distributing your estate is the probate process. It can be very difficult to understand for both executors and beneficiaries, which is why an attorney can make everything happen much more quickly.

There is some property that can be protected from probate to prevent it from being used to pay off debts or taxes. The South Dakota probate lawyers at Aspen Legacy Planning can help you learn more about how to protect more of your family’s belongings.

Learn more about probate law in South Dakota. Dial (605) 610-4016 now and schedule your no-obligation consultation with Aspen Legacy Planning.

Steps Involved in Probate

If a will is in place at the time of your passing, the executor you named will primarily handle the administration. If there is no will in place, the probate court will have to designate a personal representative to keep track of the estate.

During probate:

  • The property of the deceased person is investigated and cataloged (and cannot yet be sold)
  • The estate administrator values all probate assets
  • Taxes, bills and outstanding debts are paid
  • The property is given to the beneficiaries of the estate

What Happens if Someone Dies Without a Will?

In South Dakota, intestate succession laws govern how an estate is divided when a person passes away without a will. The distribution of assets among the deceased person's closest relatives is decided by these laws.

If there are no other heirs, the surviving spouse will usually inherit the whole inheritance. The children or any near relatives will share the assets if there is no living spouse. It's crucial to remember that intestate laws have restrictions that must be fulfilled in order for someone to inherit, such as having to outlive the decedent for a predetermined amount of time. To guarantee that assets are distributed properly and to manage the probate procedure, legal counsel is advised. Reach out to a professional Rapid City probate lawyer at Aspen Legacy Planning as soon as you can.

What Are the Costs Associated With Probate?

The costs associated with probate in South Dakota can vary depending on the size and complexity of the estate. Some of the expenses involved include court filing fees, appraisal fees, attorney fees, executor fees, and other miscellaneous costs. The cour filing fees can also vary depending on the type of probate proceeding. Additionally, there may be fees for issuing common certificates that are required during the probate process.

Attorney fees are another significant cost associated with probate. These vary depending on the complexity of the estate and the level of involvement required from the attorney. Executor fees may also apply, and in South Dakota, executors are entitled to reasonable compensation based on a certain percentage based on how much the estate is worth.

The total cost of probate in South Dakota can average around a few thousand dollars, but this may be significantly reduced by using tools or strategies that simplify the probate process.

To understand more about how much probate may cost you and expenses related to your particular situation, it is recommended to seek legal advice from a seasoned South Dakota probate attorney.

Avoiding Probate in South Dakota

Due to the legal complexities of dealing with probate, many people want to know how they can mitigate or avoid the process. Probate is not required for all assets under South Dakota state law. Certain assets can be distributed directly to beneficiaries outside of the probate process.

Some property that is excluded from probate includes:

  • Life insurance policies with a beneficiary already named
  • Bank accounts that are already contractually assigned to an individual
  • Real estate owned by two people with specific legal rights
  • Assets included in a living trust

What isn’t protected in an estate or declared in a will could be subject to probate. The more you can protect from probate, the more likely your estate will be able to serve your loved ones for years to come.

Reach Out to Our Probate Attorneys Today

The probate process can seem very burdensome, which is why it helps to consult a professional who has seen the landscape of estate planning change and grow over the decades.

At Aspen Legacy Planning, Principal Attorney Stephen J. Wesolick uses his 30 years of knowledge in practice to help you develop a probate plan. He can use his knowledge as an estate attorney to save you precious time and reduces future frustration for your loved ones.

Let us help you with the probate process. Reach out to our South Dakota law office at (605) 610-4016 or by contacting us online.

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