What is probate?

Probate refers to the court supervised distribution of a deceased person’s assets
as described in their will. The probate process starts with a Petition to the Court asking for validation of the will and the naming of a personal representative or executor. The court then issues Letters of Authority for the personal representative giving them legal standing to do the following:

1. Prepare an inventory of the assets
2. Pay all debts and close accounts
3. Prepare and file tax returns for the deceased
4. Provide an accounting to the beneficiaries and the court
5. Distribute the assets as directed in the will

This is a general overview of the requirements to probate an estate. The process can be completed as quickly as 4 months but, in some cases, may take longer. The selling of assets, such as a home, boats or cars may slow the process down. A lack of documentation is another reason probate may take longer.

Proper planning is essential to make the process go smoothly. If you have questions about the probate process please contact our office.

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