What is Probate?

Probate is a process that happens after someone's death and during the estate settlement step. Many people having to go through the probate process get frustrated because of how long it takes and the amount of paperwork required. Probate typically takes between three and six months, but it sometimes drags on for a longer time. Here are some things that happen during the probate proceedings.

Settling Estates is a Detailed Process

Death Will Authenticity

The main goal of probate is to prove the authenticity of the will and determine how property and assets will be distributed after a person's death. Usually, there is a hearing or a process where the will is determined to be valid. Family members and other beneficiaries can get help during the authentication phase by consulting with an experienced probate lawyer in their area.

Debts and Assets Distribution

If the will isn’t contested, the next step of the probate process is to determine the value of the deceased person's assets and debts. The will's administrator will have to file paperwork to transfer assets to survivors and settle any debts that need to be paid. During the entire process, the cost of probate can be taken out of the value of the estate before it's settled by a probate judge.

Probate without a Valid Will

The probate process doesn't always have to be more complicated if there is no last will and testament. If this is the case, the court will assign someone to be the executor of the estate. The court usually picks someone who was close to the deceased person, such as a family member or friend. Then, things such as property and other assets will be discussed and distributed to survivors.

Have a Plan to Avoid Estate Problems

Dealing with the death of someone close can be a stressful time, so it's important to have a solid estate plan that clearly dictates your final wishes. Most people don't want to add more to their family and friend's aggravation after their death, and the probate process can be too overwhelming for families to handle on top of grieving a lost loved one.