Probate is a legal process that takes place after someone dies. It includes proving in court that a person’s will is valid, identifying and inventorying the person’s property, having the property appraised, paying debts and taxes and distributing the property.
Four basic steps of probate include:
- Filing a petition and giving notice to heirs and beneficiaries.
- A personal representative is appointed by the court and must give notice to all creditors of the estate and take an inventory of the estate property.
- All estate expenses, funeral expenses, debts and taxes are paid from the estate.
- Legal title in property is transferred according to the will (or under the laws of intestacy if the decedent did not have a will).