Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person by resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person’s property under the valid will. A probate court decides the validity of a testator’s will. A probate interprets the instructions of the deceased, decides the executor as the personal representative of the estate, and adjudicates the interests of the heirs and other parties who may have claims against the estate.
Probate is necessary by which property of a decedent is retitled. As with any legal proceeding, there are technical aspects to probate and trust administration: Creditors need to be notified and legal notices published. Trustees need to be guided in how and when to distribute assets and how to take creditor’s rights into account. A Petition to appoint a personal representative may need to be filed and Letters of Administration obtained. There are time factors involved in filing and objecting to claims against the estate. There may be a lawsuit pending over the decedent’s death or there may have been pending suits that are now continuing. Real Estate may need to be sold to effectuate correct distribution of assets pursuant to the estate plan or merely to pay debts. Estate taxes must be considered of the estate exceeds certain thresholds. Other assets may simply need to be transferred from the decedent to his or her heirs.