When a person dies, there are many things that often occur before their estate reaches the designated beneficiaries. One of them is filing the will with the probate court.
What is probate?
Probate is the legal process of settling a deceased person’s estate. This process begins with the filing of the will with the probate court and ends with the distribution of assets to beneficiaries.
The executor named in the will is responsible for carrying out the terms of the document. This includes gathering the relevant assets, paying debts and taxes and distributing assets according to the will.
When is a will probated?
Wills are generally probated soon after the death of the testator. However, there is no set timeline and the process can take weeks or months, depending on the complexity of the estate and whether any disputes arise. People also turn to the probate court to determine the validity of a will when there is no will or when the will is contested.
The executor must notify all interested parties and provide them with a copy of the will. After all interested parties have been notified and any disputes resolved, the executor can petition the court for authority to begin distributing assets. That means that the probate process is important when it comes to transferring the name of the estate from the deceased to the beneficiary.
What happens if the estate is in a living trust?
If the estate is in a living trust, it does not need to go through probate. This is because the trust owns all of the assets and can distribute them according to its terms.
If you’re considering probate you should familiarize yourself with the steps and understand that these steps vary depending on the state and the complexity of the estate. Additionally, it’s important to have an executor in mind who can handle the legal and administrative tasks associated with probate.