What Is Probate?

What is probate?

Probate is the legal process in which a will is reviewed to determine if it is valid or authentic. Probate also refers to the general administering of deceased persons will or even administering the estate of a deceased person without a will. If there is an executor named in the will they usually will handle the probate process. If there is no will the state probate court will decide the rules of inheritance. 

What is the process of probate?

Probate can be a very long process but when you break it down it’s really very simple. So let’s go through the steps of probate.

 

  1. First things first you need to file a petition to begin probate. You will need to file in the county in which the deceased person lived. When this is filed you will be required to provide a valid will and death certificate. The court will then schedule you a hearing to approve an executor and officially open a probate case.
  2. You’ll then need to give notice that the estate is in probate to all persons or entities mentioned in the will. Other people that need to be notified are all creditors and other beneficiaries or heirs to the estate.
  3. Next, collect, inventory and appraise all the items that qualify for probate. Then present this to the court. Items that qualify for probate things such as real estate, bank accounts, stock and bonds, and all other items of value.
  4. The next step is taking care of any outstanding bills and debt to decide whether and how they will be paid. Also, all taxes will need to be paid this may include filing income tax return for the estate.
  5. Next, distribute remaining assets to rightful heirs or if there is a valid will then assets will be distributed as the will directs. And finally, close the estate.

 

Do you need to do probate?

Some people don’t want to probate a will. There is no requirement stating that a will or property must go into probate. But in some cases, it becomes impossible for heirs to obtain legal ownership without probate. So if you are looking to sell an inherited home you may need to file for probate.

How long is probate?

Probate can take anywhere from 2 to 3 months to obtain probate and about 6 to 9 months for the estate to be settled. It depends on many variables such as how large the estate is, how many heirs, if there is a valid will, etc. Once the bank has all the necessary documentation they will release funds within 10 to 15 business days.

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