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Heir is the term used to reference an individual entitled to inheritance property. Legal heirs can include surviving spouse, biological or adopted children, and direct lineage relatives such as mother, father, sister or brother.

Each heir should be listed within last will and testament along with specific inheritance property they will receive. When decedents elect to disinherit heirs they should include a disinheritance statement within their last will. This provides evidence to the probate court the decedent knew the heir was alive, but intentionally chose to leave them out of their Will.

Unless last wills are placed inside a trust, they must be validated through probate. The probate process is required within all 50 states and is necessary for proper estate settlement. Probate laws vary by state, but all require a personal representative manage the estate.

Estate administrators are designated within the last will. If no will exists, a probate judge will appoint a representative. Heirs can contest a will at any point during probate. Initially, Plaintiff's will be responsible for legal fees. If the court rules in their favor, the estate generally must reimburse legal fees. Additionally, the estate will incur defense attorney costs.

Inclusion of the disinheritance statement can stop the act of contesting the will from the start. This is not to say an heir cannot contest the will if they are disinherited. However, they will need to provide compelling evidence proving they are entitled to the inheritance they are seeking.

As a real estate investor, I hear horror stories of people coming out of the woodwork to lay claim against an estate. Death tends to bring out the best and worst in people; especially if there is money or valuable property at stake. It is not uncommon for families to embark in all out war over money, real estate or personal belongings.

If you have not written a Will, I cannot express strongly enough the importance of putting your affairs in order. We never know when our final day will arrive and dying without a Will leaves an enormous mess for loved ones.

Give yourself and your family peace of mind and execute a legal will. It's best to work with probate lawyers or estate planner to ensure your Will is ironclad. If major changes occur, such as purchasing a house or death of a named heir, updates should be made.

It is also important to take measures to protect inheritance assets from probate. Our heir and inheritance library is packed with information and resources on probate, avoiding probate, estate planning, trusts, inheritance and tips for writing a will.

As a private investor, I specialize in providing cash for inheritance advances. If you are an heir entitled to inheritance held in probate and need a lump sum of cash, submit information via our cash for inheritance form. I will personally contact you with 48 hours to discuss your situation.

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Published on December 19, 2009 at 02:54 AM

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