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Thursday, February 13, 2020

What Happens in Probate Court?

While some people may have heard the word “probate,” not many know what it means or what probate involves. Some may simply have been warned to try and avoid probate. It is expensive! It takes too much time! This is what is usually said when probate is mentioned. The majority of estates, however, will go through probate proceedings in probate court. Here is what you can expect.

Understanding the Probate Court Process

Probate court is a specialized type of court that deals with the probating of a deceased individual’s estate. This mainly involves handling the assets and liabilities of a deceased individual. The process begins when someone files a petition for probate with the probate court. Usually, a relative will do this. If there is a will for the deceased individual, a copy of the will must also be filed with the court.

The court will first appoint someone to take control of the deceased’s estate. This person is usually referred to as the “personal representative.” Sometimes, the personal representative has been named in the will. Without a will or without a will that names the personal representative, the court will select someone to take on the responsibility. The personal representative of the estate plays a central role in probate. He or she is responsible for handling the administration of the estate. This means the personal representative must gather and manage the assets of the estate, make sure that all outstanding debts are paid, and distributing the remaining estate assets to the right beneficiaries. The personal representative will need to make all kinds of arrangements such as publishing a notice in a newspaper, notifying beneficiaries, filing inventories with the court, filing the final taxes of the estate, and much more.

The probate court is tasked with overseeing all of this and holding the personal representative accountable for the important tasks that lay ahead. The probate court is also responsible for establishing that any will submitted for probate is, in fact, valid. Should there be any challenge to a will’s validity, the probate court will oversee the will contest. A will may be found invalid in whole or in part for a number of reasons such as fraud or undue influence.

As you can see, there is much to be accomplished during probate. This is one of the reasons people often look to avoid probate. It can be quite a lengthy process. Beneficiaries must wait until the very end of the process before receiving any of their inheritance. It can be a long wait. Additionally, court fees can quickly add up, making the process expensive as well.

Estate Administration and Probate Attorney

Whether you need help with an aspect of the probate process or you are looking to avoid probate, Monk Law is here to help. We help families establish comprehensive, dependable estate plans. We also help families navigate the often complex and involved probate process. For all of your estate planning and probate needs, Monk Law is here for you. Contact us today.


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| Phone: 803-594-4453
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| Phone: 704-369-9977

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