What is Probate?
By: Brian G. Winter, Esq.
Probate is the legal process in which a Court administers a person’s legal and financial matters after their death.
There are two types of probate estates - testate and intestate.
A testate estate is when a person dies with a will. The will is submitted to Court for a determination of whether the will is valid or invalid. If the will is valid, the decedent’s estate will be administered in accordance with the terms of the will.
In the event that a will in not valid, or a person dies without a will or other estate plan for the transfer of assets, then the person has an intestate estate. In an intestate case, a person’s assets will be distributed according to statute. The intestacy statutes provide for who is entitled to receive a distribution of the estate and what percentage of the estate they are to receive.
The Court has rules and procedures for how a testate or intestate estate is to be administered. The Court will appoint a Personal Representative to be in charge of the Estate. The Personal Representative is responsible for inventorying and taking control of the Deceased’s probate assets, publishing notice of the Estate to creditors, paying all valid claims and taxes and distributing the remaining property pursuant to the Will or statute. The Personal Representative is required to file Inventory and Accountings with the Court.
It should be noted that not all of the Decedent’s assets need to be probated. For example, if you have a named beneficiary on a retirement account or life insurance policy, these assets will pass directly to the named beneficiary and are not included in a person’s probate estate.
The attorneys at Owens & Perkins, Attorneys at Law can help you navigate the probate process.
If you would like to work with one of our experienced estate planning Attorneys, please call OWENS & PERKINS at 480.630.2464 to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.