Probate is the legal process through which a deceased person's assets are distributed to their heirs or beneficiaries. It typically involves the appointment of a personal representative, who is responsible for identifying and collecting the deceased person's assets, paying any debts or taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.
The probate process begins with the filing of a petition with the court, which typically includes a copy of the deceased person's will, if one exists. If the deceased person did not have a will, the court will determine who the legal heirs are and distribute the assets accordingly. The personal representative is usually appointed by the court, and is typically a close relative or friend of the deceased person.
Once the personal representative is appointed, they will begin the process of identifying and collecting the deceased person's assets. This includes things like real estate, bank accounts, stocks, and other investments. The personal representative will also be responsible for paying any debts or taxes that are owed by the deceased person. This may include things like credit card bills, outstanding loans, and taxes.
Once the debts and taxes have been paid, the personal representative will then distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. This is typically done according to the instructions in the deceased person's will, but if there is no will, the distribution will be determined by state law.
Probate can be a time-consuming and complex process, and it is important to have the right legal representation to guide you through it. An experienced probate attorney can help you understand the legal requirements and assist you in navigating the process, so that you can focus on honoring the memory of your loved one and settling their estate.