Did you know?
Probate is a court proceeding in which a judge enters an order (or orders) which transfer title to a deceased person’s property to the beneficiaries named in their will (or, if no will, to those named in the intestacy laws).
For example, if a person dies owning a savings account in her name, that person’s heirs will not be able to get at that money until the probate is opened, and the judge enters the proper orders. Likewise, if a person dies owning a house, the house cannot be sold, or passed on to the beneficiaries, until a probate is opened, and a judge enters the proper orders.
What is “probate” and why is it necessary?
The procedure of probate actually involves much more than simply passing assets on to beneficiaries. In all probate proceedings,
- Debts of the deceased person must be paid from the assets of the probate estate.
- There is a whole procedure for giving notice to creditors of the decedent, which much be done in every probate.
- There are income taxes of the deceased which may need to be paid.
- There may be real property to be sold.
- In larger estates there may be a Federal Estate Tax to be paid.
- Further, in larger estates the services of an accountant may be necessary to handle tax issues.
- Even a small probate can take six month to complete.