Probate 101

 

What is probate?

“Probate” comes from a Latin word meaning “to prove.” In other words, probate is the process of proving that a person’s last will and testament is both genuine and valid. This process takes the form of a court proceeding. How long probate takes, and how complicated it is, depends upon a variety of factors. If no complex issues are involved and nobody challenges anything, probate can be very fast – finishing in a month or so.

 

What happens during probate?

During probate, one submits the will, along with a variety of other documents. These documents identify the deceased person’s property and the value of that property. If real estate is involved, or if there is an ongoing business, it will be necessary to have an appraisal.

 

Who starts the probate process?

Probate is usually started by the person (or persons) named as executor of the estate. From a pragmatic point of view, this means it tends to be started by the attorney hired by the executor to represent the estate.

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