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What does the probate process look like?

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2024 | Estate Administration |

Probate is the legal process that takes place after someone passes away. This process involves administering their estate and distributing assets to beneficiaries.

Many people do not understand the probate process and what it entails. Understanding what happens during probate can reduce misunderstandings about this common process.

Filing the petition

The probate process typically begins by filing a petition in the probate court. This petition requests the court to officially recognize the deceased person’s will and appoint an executor or personal representative to oversee the probate proceedings.

Notifying creditors and heirs

After the filing of the petition, the court will notify creditors and heirs of the deceased person’s death and the initiation of probate proceedings. Creditors have a certain period to make claims against the estate for any outstanding debts owed to them.

Inventorying assets

The executor or personal representative is responsible for inventorying and appraising the deceased person’s assets. This includes identifying all property, financial accounts, investments and personal belongings owned by the deceased at the time of their death.

Paying debts and taxes

During probate, the executor must settle any outstanding debts owed by the deceased, including taxes, funeral expenses and other outstanding bills. This may involve liquidating assets or using funds from the estate to cover these expenses.

Distributing assets to beneficiaries

Following the payment of debts, the remaining assets of the estate get distributed to beneficiaries according to the terms outlined in the deceased person’s will. If there is no will, state laws dictate how assets get distributed among heirs.

When the estate’s debts get paid and the heirs receive their assets, the executor files a final accounting with the probate court. When the court approves the final accounting, the probate process ends.