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Sunday, August 29, 2021

What Happens During Probate?

Have you heard of probate? It is the court-supervised process of administering a person’s estate after he or she dies. A notoriously lengthy and costly process, people often seek to establish estate plans that allow for avoiding probate, at least partially. Why can probate be so time consuming? Well, there is a lot that needs to be accomplished during the process. We will go through what happens during the probate process here.

What Happens During Probate?

First and foremost, if there is a will, it must be submitted to the probate court and determined to be legally valid. If there are any will contests, or challenges to the will, then those must be addressed as well. If the will is found to be legally valid, its contents will be upheld as probate proceedings commence. If there is no will or there is a will, but it has been found invalid for one reason or another, then probate proceedings will commence and distribution of the decedent’s assets will go according to the state’s intestacy laws.

If there is a valid will, usually it will include the naming of a personal representative of the estate. The court will appoint this personal representative or, if there is no personal representative named, will select and appoint one. Usually, a family member is selected to serve in this role. The appointed personal representative will be issued letters of administration which will grant them authority to conduct business on the estate’s behalf.

The personal representative will need to gather, manage, and inventory all assets of the estate. All heirs and beneficiaries, as well as all potential creditors of the estate, must be put on notice of the estate’s administration. Creditors will be given the opportunity to file a claim against the estate and, if deemed valid, the personal representative will need to pay these creditors from proceeds from the estate. The personal representative will also need to file taxes for the estate and keep the probate court apprised of all dealings in estate matters.

Once all creditor claims have been satisfied, the personal representative of the estate will file the final accounting with the probate court which will detail the business that has been conducted throughout probate. The personal representative will then be cleared to distribute assets to the beneficiaries according to the terms set forth in the decedent’s will. Without a will, the personal representative will distribute the estate assets according to the state’s intestacy laws. A state’s intestacy laws will generally provide for the distribution of estate assets starting with those closest in familial relation to the deceased. Should there be no surviving relatives, the assets of the estate will escheat to the state.

Estate Planning Attorney

Do you have questions about probate? Do you want to avoid probate? Have you been named as personal representative of an estate and need assistance navigating probate proceedings? Monk Law can help with any of these things. Contact Monk Law today.


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

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