Probate Administration

Probate is the legal process by which a court oversees the distribution of a decedent’s property. If the decedent does not have a valid will, the court will apply the state laws on intestate succession in determining who will receive the decedent’s assets. If the decedent has a valid will, the court will supervise the settlement of the decedent’s assets pursuant to the instructions in the will. Sometimes, a will does not exist, resulting in the need for probate. The probate process can be very slow and has many disadvantages.

Probate Process

  1. File the decedent’s will
  2. Prove the validity of the will
  3. Identify and inventory the decedent’s property
  4. Appraise the value of the decedent’s property
  5. Pay off legal debts, including death taxes
  6. Distribute remaining assets pursuant to the will or Intestate Succession

Disadvantages of Probate

  1. Probate proceedings are a matter of public record
  2. Probate costs range from 3% to 10% of the value of the estate
  3. Probate can prolong settlement of an estate indefinitely
  4. Court may liquidate family or business assets to divide them between heirs or pay the decedent’s liabilities
  5. Heirs may be prevented from inheriting property on a timely basis