In the instance of a wrongful death, the interpretation of the wills and distribution of the deceased’s estates is done under the supervision of a probate court. Irrespective of whether the decedent died with a will or without, the probate oversees the distribution of the estates. Failure to understand the Uniform Probate Code and the extent to which your state has adopted this code and other state specific probate laws, can cause a delay in the distribution of assets and can also lead to the accumulation of additional fees.
Entitlements to estate:
The family members, and extended relatives of the deceased who have incurred losses as a result of the death, are entitled to receive damages. The court will appoint a personal representative if the will does not specify one. All heirs and relatives will be notified of the probate hearing by the court. Before commencing the entrusted duties, the personal representative is required to provide consent and an oath, and in some states, may also be required to retain a bond as security.
Civil and Criminal Prosecution:
The Uniform Probate Code states that probate courts are part of the civil law system, and they have the authority to deny compensation to a person(s) if they were responsible for the ‘felonious and intentional’ death of the victim. Civil action by the probate court could deem an individual guilty, even if the said individual(s) has been proven innocent in a criminal action. In order to obtain a civil determination, interested individuals must petition the probate court.
Limitations on creditors:
According to the Uniform Probate Code, the claims of surviving spouse and minor children over certain assets, have precedence over those of creditors. Creditors’ claims have a lower priority as
compared to homestead shares, and allowances for support of the spouse, or a minor child. Generally, creditors can pursue their claims following a fixed time period after public notice.
Wrongful death statute of limitations:
The statute of limitations for beginning wrongful death claims is different for different states, and in most cases, is usually around 2 to 3 years from the date of death. There can also be another additional limitation based on the amount of time that has passed after the occurrence of the incident first came to light. For instance, in Minnesota, the wrongful death statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit is within six years after the incident.
These are some aspects of the wrongful death probate rights of a decedent’s heir.Google+