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:

  1. Filing a petition and giving notice to heirs and beneficiaries.
  2. 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.
  3. All estate expenses, funeral expenses, debts and taxes are paid from the estate.
  4. Legal title in property is transferred according to the will (or under the laws of intestacy if the decedent did not have a will).

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