Information About the 7 Step Probate Process
Probate is a court administered process that transfers the estate of a deceased individual to named or remaining heirs. An estate is made up of the decedents real estate, personal property, life insurance, bank accounts, investments and personal belongings. In probate court, an executor (if there is a will) or an administrator (if there is no will) is appointed by the court as a representative to collect the assets, settle any debts and then distribute any remaining assets to the beneficiaries. All matters of probate are reviewed by the court. Each state has their own probate laws. Depending on your state, area and the complexity of the estate; probate can take anywhere for seven months to two years to complete.
The Seven Standard Stages in the Probate Process:
- Stage 1 – Filing a petition in probate court and having probate initiated
- Stage 2 – Issuing notices to heirs and creditors
- Stage 3 – First probate hearing occurs and the proving of the will
- Stage 4 – Collection of the decedents assets / estate assets
- Stage 5 – Paying of creditor claims
- Stage 6 – The filing of taxes for the estate
- Stage 7 – Probate court closes the estate and any remaining assets are distributed to the heirs of the estate
When a person passes away, their assets and property will be distributed to any named heirs. In order for these assets to be distributed fairly a state probate process takes place. The probate process helps to ensure that all heirs are located, all of the decedents assets are accounted for and the creditors and taxes are paid for the estate.