Probate is the legal process of transferring property upon a person's death. Although laws vary from one state to the next, nothing changes the fact that this can be a complex and confusing process at times.
Probate can be uncontested or contested. In the event of contested probate, it typically means that a person feels he or she should have received a larger share of the estate.
While there is a lot that goes into the probate process, here are some of the basics:
- The collection of all probate property
- Paying all taxes, claims and debts owed by the decedent
- Collecting all rights to income
- Settling disputes, such as those with creditors
- Distributing all remaining property to the heirs, as outlined by the will
This leads to an important question: Who is responsible for taking on this process?
The executor of the will is staffed with the responsibility of managing a person's affairs after he or she passes on. This includes seeing the probate process through from start to finish.
Not only does probate take some time, but it also comes with costs such as court costs, attorney fees and personal representative fees. The longer the process drags on the more it will cost.
It doesn't matter if you are creating an estate plan or dealing with the aftermath of a loved one's death, you should better understand the finer details of the probate process.
When you know what happens in probate, as well as where you can turn for help, it will make things much easier on you and many others.
Source: FindLaw, "The Probate Basics," accessed Aug. 09, 2017