What Does Probate Mean?
Probate is the legal process that has to take place after someone passes. Probate can seem like a daunting task, but with the right legal team in place, it can become less cumbersome to handle.
This process includes: Proving to the courts that the deceased person’s will is valid, having the property appraised, paying debts and taxes, etc., distributing the remaining property, and so on. Probate tends to involve paperwork and court appearances by lawyers.
Most probate processes wind up with the named executor filing papers in the local probate court. The named executor is then responsible for proving the validity of your will and then have to show the court a list of your assets.
The executor proves the validity of your will and presents the court with lists of your debts, your properties, and who is supposed to inherit what you have appointed to them. It is at this point that any unknowing creditors or relatives officially notified of your death.
While your assets are in probate, your executor must find, secure, and keep track of all of your assets during the whole probate process, which can take months to years. Also, depending on your debt, the executor may have to make the decision of selling your property to cover this part of your estate.
After these main legal matters are settled, then the court will grant your executor permission to settle your personal debts and divide the rest among the inheritors that you have in your will. Lastly, once all money and property have been officially transferred over to the new owner, then the probate process is finally complete.
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Shauna R. Anderson is a State Bar Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law, a designation earned by fewer than 100 of the 15,000 licensed attorneys in the County. Shauna is experienced in living trusts, generational wealth planning, trust administration and asset protection. Shauna has personally helped over 3,00 families establish estate plans.