Probate is an orderly administration of your affairs supervised by the court. Probate is a function of state law and varies from state to state. If you own real property in more than one state it is probable your estate will be subject to probate in numerous jurisdictions, each imposing their own probate fees.
Probate comes from the Latin word “to prove”. A will must be presented to the probate court and proven to be a valid document. In addition to “proving the will” the probate process also includes:
- Officially confirming the personal representative named in the will or appointing a representative, if necessary.
- Notifying the court of a deceased person’s death and informing all involved parties (all potential heirs whether named in the will or not) that probate has started.
- Taking an inventory of all property and appraising its value.
- Paying the deceased person’s debts and taxes.
- Preparing a final accounting to the court.
- Distributing the remainder of the deceased’s property to the heirs.
- Closing the estate.