It is the legal process of allocating the estate to the lawful heirs as well as paying the debts of the deceased. The process typically includes:
- An individual being appointed by the court to function as the personal representative or executor of the estate. The person is usually mentioned in the will. The court will appoint a personal representative, typically the spouse, if there is no will.
- Validating the will.
- Letting all heirs, beneficiaries and creditors know that the will has been probated.
- In accordance with the will or state law, organizing the estate by the personal representative.
A petition must be filed by the spouse or the selected personal representative with the court following the death. A fee for the process of probate will be charged.
Probation of a will might require legal assistance, depending on the size and complexity of the assets to probate.
If the deceased and someone else jointly owned assets, they are not subject to probate. The proceeds of a life insurance policy or Individual Retirement Account (IRA) will be paid to the beneficiary and are not subject to probate.