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What you should know about the probate process

You may be filled with a myriad of emotions when you experience the loss of a close friend or loved one. While it can be difficult to navigate through this difficult time, there are matters of business that must be handled, such as managing the estate. Depending on how the deceased planned and organized their estate, dividing the estate to beneficiaries named in the will may be a simple process. If the deceased appointed an administrator, however, and did not set up the property in a trust, it may go through the probate process.

Probate is the process where a person’s estate, including property and assets, is distributed to the beneficiaries designated by the deceased in the last will and testament. As part of the process, all property and assets are gathered together and appraised. Any lingering expenses, such as taxes and debt, are then paid from the value of the estate. The remaining property and assets are then divided to beneficiaries or as otherwise directed by the deceased.

During the probate process, an estate administrator is appointed to oversee the estate and ensure the property gets to the proper beneficiaries. The administrator must protect the property from theft or vandalism during the process as well. People can avoid the somewhat lengthy probate process by putting their estate’s property in a trust that will be directly transferred to the designated party upon death of the trust owner.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.



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