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Basics of Probate

What is probate?

“Probate” is a court-supervised process of settling a persons estate buy paying debts and taxes and transferring property, possessions and wealth from the person who has past away to their legal heirs
The property is managed by the executor or personal representative (PR) during the probate process of settling the estate. The personal representative is task with managing and distribution of the estate when the probate court approves the sale or distribution of property or payments
The earliest that an estate may be closed and distribution made to the heirs or beneficiaries is roughly six months after the date of first public notification is published in the local paper.  It isn't unusual however for probate to take a year or more to settle the estate.

Basic steps of probate

Here are the basic steps needed to complete probate administration:
• Hire a family or Probate attorney to help file appropriate documents with the court.
• For estates with a will the Court appoints PR (personal representative) and issues Letters of Testamentary. If there is no will the court will appoint an administrator and issue Letters of Administration.
• PR or attorney will publish notice to creditors in the paper. The date of first publication starts a 6 month period for creditors to submit their claims to the court, attorney, or the personal representative.
• PR will be responsible for taking inventory and appraising assets.
• PR will manage the estate and sell property if money is needed to pay debts, claims, taxes, and expenses.
• PR will prepare a settlement statement for the court and heirs showing assets and disbursements.
• PR will wait for court approval to distribute remaining assets and close estate.

Is Probate Necessary to Transfer Property at Death?

Yes, probate is necessary unless the decedent did not own any property to be
transferred through probate. Estate planning helps a person transfer 
property prior to or at death to avoid probate.

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