What is Probate?

Probate is the legal process of validating a will, settling the estate of a deceased person, and distributing their property.

The steps involved in executing a probate are:

  • validate the will
  • inventory all property
  • appraise all property
  • pay all estate debts including estate taxes
  • distribute all remaining property according to the dictates of the will

Probate can take months to a year to fully settle, depending on complexity of the estate, disputes, and bills.

Probate Court

Also known as surrogate court in some states, probate court is a specialized court that focuses primarily on estate administration and probate cases. Among other responsibilities, probate court validates and enforces wills and prevents any untoward activities by those administering the wills (executors). The probate court also holds juristiction when a deceased with property has no valid will.

Executor

Most wills establish an executor - or administrator - for the estate. This person presents the will to the courts, along with a list of assets and property. If a will does not designate an executor, the courts appoint one.

Probate Attorneys

Probate is the legal process of validating a will, settling the estate of a deceased person, and distributing their property. A probate attorney is experienced in all aspects of the probate process and can ensure that their client's wishes will be fulfilled.

Probate requires extensive paperwork and court appearances. Having a lawyer experienced in probate issues helps you deal with those complications during an already difficult time. Your attorney will guide you through the issues dealing with someone's estate.


Estate Law Term of the Day

Death Benefit and Estate Law

Death benefits include any sum of money, including a lump sum payout or annuity, paid to the survivors of a decedent

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Latest Estate Law Question

How can I find out if my recently deceased father had a will?
Generally, assuming someone did some type of estate planning, they will leave their last will and testament with their estate lawyer.

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