What is Probate?

Probate is the court-supervised process for transferring property following the death of the owner. The goal of probate is to transfer a decedent’s (someone who has died) property to his or her heirs or other directed recipients. This would occur after paying debts owed to creditors. The probate process typically involves the following general steps:

  1. Hiring of an attorney
  2. Opening of the estate with the probate court (filing various documents)
  3. Submission of the will (if there is one) to the court
  4. Appointment, by the court, of a personal representative of the estate
  5. Taking and reporting of the inventory of assets of the estate
  6. Payment of debts of the estate and settlement of similar matters
  7. Providing legally required notices to the public and to certain individuals
  8. Distribution of the assets of the estate to intended or legally entitled recipients
  9. Order of discharge from the court; closing of the estate