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How Does Probate Work?

Jul 1, 2020

First you need to learn about probate. Once you have develop a basic understanding of probate, you’re ready to learn how probate works.

Generally, if the decedent died intestate (without a will), an administrative proceeding must be held. If the decedent died with a will, the personal representative, executor, or attorney will file the will with the proper court. If the court determines that the decedent’s will is legitimate, the court executes an “Order,” giving permission to the personal representative or executor to disburse assets and wind up the decedent’s estate.

Initial Steps of Probate:

As discussed above, when a decedent dies with a will, the personal representative, executor, or attorney must file a Petition to probate the will. The court will determine if the will is valid. If the court determines the will is valid, the court will issue the personal representative or executor Letters of Administration or Letters Testamentary. A personal representative or executor will have the ability to transfer assets, pay debts, pay taxes, and wind up the estate once the court has issued Letters of Administration.

 

Loved One Dies Without a Will:

If a decedent dies intestate (without a will), the decedent’s estate must submit to the probate process. In this scenario, a court will name an estate administrator (similar to an executor or personal representative) and the court will tell the estate administrator the steps to distribute the property.

As discussed above, when a person dies without a will, the person is said to have died intestate. Each state governs how to distribute a decedent’s assets if the decedent died without a will, and the distribution will vary state-to-state.

 

Loved One Owns Property in More Than One State:

If a decedent owns property in more than one state, it may be necessary to conduct an additional probate proceeding in any state where the decedent’s property is located. This may require the personal representative or executor to hire an attorney in any state where the decedent’s property is located.

 

***Disclaimer*** – The information contained in this site is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal or tax advice. The Trusting Co. is not a law firm and does not give legal advice.

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