Probate is a legal process the courts use to take inventory of your estate and distribute your assets after you pass away. In addition to dispersing your belongings, it also ensures that all your outstanding debts have been paid and when probate is complete, that your estate is completely dissolved.
To accomplish this feat, the probate court relies on the executor you named in your Will or on a personal representative designated by the court if no Will exists. This person is responsible for taking inventory, handling creditor claims, filing taxes, paying bills and yes, distributing assets.
When the executor or personal representative has handled all there is to handle, he or she will notify the court and the probate on your estate will be officially closed.
As you can imagine, probate can be a costly and time-consuming process, depending upon the complexities of your estate. Fortunately, there are a few ways to avoid probate or at least minimize the amount of assets that must go through the court.
To learn more about probate and how to avoid it, contact our office today.