Probate is the legal process by which a court determines the validity of a last will and testament and oversees the distribution of an individual's assets after their death. When an individual dies, their will must be submitted to the probate court in the county where they lived.
The probate process can be complex and time-consuming, and it typically involves the following steps:
- The will is filed with the probate court and the court appoints an executor to manage the estate.
- The executor is responsible for inventorying and appraising the deceased individual's assets.
- Any debts and taxes owed by the deceased individual must be paid from the estate.
- The remaining assets are distributed to the beneficiaries named in the will.
The probate process can take several months to complete, and it can be expensive due to court fees and other costs associated with managing the estate. For these reasons, many people choose to create a revocable living trust instead of a will, as trusts do not have to go through probate.