Probate, which stems from the classic Latin term meaning “to prove” or “proven”, is the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person by resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person’s property either under a valid will or when the decedent has died intestate (without a will) to their heirs and beneficiaries.
Probate is also the process by which the property of a decedent is re-titled. As with any legal proceeding, there are technical aspects to probate and trust administration.
Here are just a few:
- Creditors need to be notified and legal notices published.
- Trustees need to be guided in how and when to distribute assets and how to take creditors’ rights into account.
- A Petition to appoint a personal representative (executor/administrator) may need to be filed and Letters of Administration obtained.
- If the estate is not automatically devised to a surviving spouse through joint tenancy or is not held within a trust, the estate will need to be probated whether or not the decedent had a valid will.
Please note that this is just a brief and informative overview of what can be a very lengthy and involved probate process.
Most important to remember is that probate and trust administration laws vary from state to state. For answers to your technical probate questions, please consult the proper professional.
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