The Probate Process: Four Simple Steps

Probate is a legal procedure followed after someone’s death to distribute the deceased’s property to their loved ones. The probate process is usually seen as a lengthy and complex process involving many court hearings and lawyers. In contrast, it is a fairly simple method once understood clearly. Although a probate attorney is always present with the family to assist them through everything, having some knowledge about the steps is always helpful.

Things to Know About the Probate Procedures

  1. Probate court: It initiates and supervises the procedure, ensuring everything goes according to the wishes stated in the will.
  2. Probate attorney: It is a lawyer who mainly works in property matters and probate processes. It can be hired to make the process smooth.
  3. Duration: It is usually between three to nine months after the petition is placed, but it mainly depends on the complexity of the estate.
  4. Contesting the will: Anyone in the family can challenge the will for its viability. To successfully contest, one will have to prove that the will is forged or forcefully created by the deceased.

Steps Involved in a Probate Process

  • Filing the petition and notifying beneficiaries: A petition is made in the probate court for the probate procedure after a person’s death. If the will is available, it is presented in front of the court, which verifies it for authenticity and carries the testate process with the executor chosen by the deceased. If the will is not presented, the court can appoint someone as the personal representative, similar to an executor, who then carries out the distribution process following the intestate laws. The beneficiaries are notified about the probate through messages or by printing in the newspaper.
  • Taking inventory: After filing the petition, the executor or the personal representative tracks down every asset left by the deceased gets the proof of ownership, and takes the inventory. Inventorying can take time in case the estate is vast and not transparent. The estate to be inventoried will include all the properties, buildings, and financial policies like investments and trusts. The executor also ensures that nothing from the assets gets lost, misplaced, or stolen during the probate process.
  • Completing financial obligations: The executor or the personal representative pays all the debts, pending payments, loans, other financial obligations, and final bills from the estate fund. The estate fund is also used to pay for the probate procedures. 
  • Estate distribution: The final task of an executor or a personal representative is totally all the assets left after completing the deceased’s financial obligations and distribute them amongst the loved ones as mentioned in a will. In case the will is not available, the court will follow the intestate process. The intestate laws for most states would agree to name everything in the estate to the deceased’s spouse and children, which might not be the preference in a non-harmonious family relationship.

About Castle Wealth Group

Are you searching for a reliable and quality company to assist you with the probate process? At Castle Wealth Group, we build a perfect strategy for your retirement, including income planning, investment planning, tax planning, health care planning, and legacy planning. Visit our website or call us at 844.885.4200 or email us for your financial advice.

Castle Wealth Group Legal in Media

Send Us a Message