Probate can seem like a daunting process, and it often gets a bad reputation. This legal process is actually beneficial to everyone, and it can be incredibly helpful in many cases.
Probate simply provides court supervision on the finalizing of an estate. It involves some simple steps that do not have to take a long time or have to be overly complicated. Although, in some cases, delays and complications can occur.
Filing the will
The first step in probate is always to file the will with the court. It is important to find the most recent and valid copy of the will. Typically, a personal representative or attorney will handle this step. Sometimes, the family must do it. The law requires that this happen within 30 days.
Appoint the personal representative
The court will appoint someone as the personal representative, who acts on behalf of the deceased throughout the process. A person names the PR in their will.
The PR will be responsible for sending out and publishing notices that the estate is in probate. Individuals named in the will or other estate documents and the heirs of the individual must receive a notice, which may require tracking them down.
Accumulate property and pay debts
The PR will have to inventory all property included in the estate and collect that which may not be immediately available. The court will help with the distribution of assets towards debts.
Distribute to heirs
The final action of the PR is to ensure all heirs receive the proper assets. Asset distribution occurs after debt payments, so in some cases, there may not be any remaining assets to distribute.
The court will then close the estate and end probate once it has no remaining assets.