You are here: Home Planning Ahead Probate What Happens During ...
Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.


What Happens During Probate?

Next » « Previous


The probate process has four basic steps:

Step 1. Proving the validity of a Will

While procedure varies from state to state, in general, after a death:

  • The person named in a Will to administer the estate (known as Personal Representative, Personal Administrator or Executor) files the Will in the probate court of the county where the deceased lived.
  • The court reviews the Will to be sure it meets the local legal requirements (such as the correct number of witnesses).
  • The people who would receive the assets if no Will existed are then contacted. The court gives these people the opportunity to contest the Will. For example, if Jane leaves everything in her Will to Richard, her significant other but not legal spouse, her brothers and sisters will be given the opportunity to contest the legality of the Will.

While proving the validity of a Will is usually routine, challenges can take a long time -- sometimes years. Be sure to read Protecting Your Will Against Challenges.

Step 2. Catalogue assets and debts

In addition to proving the validity of a Will, the Personal Representative/Executor Will present the court with a list of your property, your debts, and who will inherit your property under the terms of the Will. Your Personal Representative/Executor will be able to do this job much faster if you have an up-to-date Home Inventory, List Of Assets and Document Inventory. See these links for our ready-to-use forms.

Step 3. Pay claims, debts and taxes

  • Your Personal Representative/Executor is usually required to advertise your death in local newspapers to inform creditors to make claims.
  • Creditors are usually paid before your assets are distributed to your beneficiaries.
  • A good bill payment system can help your Personal Representative/Executor minimize the time it takes for your heirs to receive their shares of your estate.
  • A Personal Representative/Executor is required to file income and estate tax returns if required, and to pay the taxes, if any.

Step 4. Distribute Assets to Beneficiaries

Once the first three steps have been completed, assets can be released to your beneficiaries as provided in your Will.

Please share how this information is useful to you. 0 Comments


Post a Comment Have something to add to this topic? Contact Us.

Characters remaining:

  • Allowed markup: <a> <i> <b> <em> <u> <s> <strong> <code> <pre> <p>
    All other tags will be stripped.