What is a Probate?

When a person dies, all property which does not pass directly to others (such as Jointly owned property and life insurance payable to a named beneficiary) is subject to a legal proceeding called "probate" under state law.  This proceeding takes place under the jurisdiction and supervision of the Probate Court for the county where the deceased person resided.

The probate procedure involves three major functions.  First, the court will determine if the decendent left a valid will.  Second, the court will appoint a personal representative to administer the decendent's estate.  Third, the court will supervise the administration of the property subject to probate.


Why is Probate Necessary?

      The purpose of a probate proceeding are:

               (1)  To collect the decedent's probate assets;

               (2)  To protect and preserve the property of the estate;

               (3)  To pay all debts and taxes; and

               (4)  To determine who is entitled to the probate estate and distribute the property to them.


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