What is Probate?

Probate is the legal process whereby a will is "proved" in a court and accepted as a valid public document that is the true last will and testament of the deceased. So in other words it does the following:

  • It proves the deceased person's will is valid
  • It protects your heirs and beneficiaries
  • It identifies and inventories the deceased property
  • It has the property appraised
  • It pays off debts and taxes
  • It distributes the remaining property as the will directs

Typically, probate involves paperwork and court appearances by lawyers. The lawyers and court fees are paid from estate property, which would otherwise go to the people who inherit the deceased person's property.

Probate proceedings are a matter of public record. There is no privacy when your estate goes through probate.

There are some disadvantages to probate:

  • Probate can be an extremely costly manner of transferring your assets
  • The process can very time consuming
  • Probate court proceedings are basically inflexible
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