What is Probate? Essentially, probate is the process of distributing a person's estate after a person has died. After a person passes away, ownership of that person's (the decedent) real property and personal property must be transferred to other people. Sometimes the person dies with a valid will, which means the person died "testate" and the decedent's estate will be transferred as described in the will. On the other hand, a person may die "intestate," meaning without a will. If a person dies intestate, the decedent's estate will be transferred according to state law. In either scenario, the probate process entails gathering and accounting for the decedent's assets, ensuring debts, creditors, and taxes are paid, and distributing the remaining estate to the appropriate heirs.
Brief Overview of Probate Process
The probate process can be costly, complex, and confusing. If a will is uncontested, meaning no one disputes the will, the probate process may run smoothly. If the will is contested, probate can be much more complicated and can take a lot longer. Other factors that may affect the length and complexity of probate include the size of the estate, the number of heirs, and the amount of debt.
In general, the probate process will begin with proving the existence of a valid will. If there is a valid will, the decedent will usually have named a personal representative, or executor, to manage the estate. That executor will allocate, inventory, pay any debts, and distribute the decedent's estate according to the will. If there is no will or a will is deemed invalid by the Probate Court, the probate process will involve determining who will receive the decedent's real property and personal property according to state laws. When this occurs, the Probate court appoints a personal representative. The appointed person is typically someone who would receive a share of the estate under the state law. Regardless of the existence of a will, situations may arise when a person or persons address the court and dispute the will or the court's proposed distribution. After any and all disputes, the estate can finally be distributed to the heirs.
IFC Can Help You
Since Probate can be very costly, it can be difficult for people to participate in the process and rightfully defend and receive their share of the decedent's estate. With an heir advance from IFC, the probate process will run smoother and you won't be consumed by worries of financial insecurity.