What Is Probate? Guide To The Distribution Of Deceased Assets Process


Probate is a legal process that deals with the assets and debts left behind after someone dies. Supervised by a probate court, this process is intended to help legitimize the distribution of assets as well as other aspects of estate administration. Probate is a common practice for many reasons, which is why it is important to know how it is completed, what the advantages are and the laws surrounding it. This is not a topic that only a real estate developer should care about, average home owners should know about the probate process, as well. If you have ever found yourself asking “what is probate?”, you have come to the right place. Below, we have compiled the answers to some of the most common questions about this legal process.

What Are The Benefits Of Probate?

Probate has a reputation for being a costly and time consuming process. However, there are many benefits to having your loved one’s assets sorted out in court according to Guidant Financial. First, it provides validity of the will. Additionally, the formal proceedings will prevent any loose ends or unfinished business. Lastly, the court supervision ensures that the interests of all parties are accommodated. These are just a few of the most beneficial aspects of the probate process.

What Is The First Step Of Probate?

Many do not know what happens during probate. However, this is important to understand. The first step in probate will be authenticating the last will and testament of your loved ones. If the deceased person did indeed leave a will, a judge will need to confirm that it is the most recent version of the will. They will also confirm that this most recent will is valid and signed by the decedent. This is just the first part of a length probate process that varies by state. Thankfully, you will not have to worry about taking out lawsuit loans for this portion of the probate process.

Is Probate Mandatory For All Wills?

This question is asked by many people who are wary of this legal process. Essentially, the answer is no. Probate is not usually mandatory for all wills. However, it is governed by the states. This means that, in some states, probate can be made mandatory; most often it is only needed if the assets involved meet a certain criteria. Be sure to research the laws surrounding wills and probate in your specific state.

What Is Probate Used For?

Aside from the advantages to having a court to settle financial matters, probate is often required for the legal transfer of estates and assets. For example, if the deceased leaves land to someone other than their spouse, this would likely go through probate court. This can also help determine settlements for Family Heritage insurance policies. Additionally, it is used to supervise the payment of debts and taxes, as well as the sale of certain assets when applicable.

Should You Avoid Probate?

Many people consider avoiding this legal process as an option. There are several ways to avoid probate, such as gifting, trusts and small estate proceedings. However, this is not always recommended. These methods are an excellent way to go about estate planning, but should not be used to avoid probate altogether. Most of the time, families of the deceased will be in contact with the probate court no matter what measures are taken.

What Is Business Succession Planning?

If you own a business, this may be of great concern to you. What effect does probate have on your business organization assets? Well, it depends. Prior estate planning, partnerships and other business interests will effect the outcome of your business in probate court. However, if you run a family-owned business, then it may be possible to leave it to someone through business succession planning.

When people ask “what is probate?” they often have a preconceived notion of a lengthy and stressful court process. However, there are many other aspects involved in the transfer of a loved one’s estate for property development or otherwise. The probate court could help make the process much easier with proper planning.

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