Probate is the legal process that occurs when a person passes away, and it involves reviewing their assets and determining how they will be distributed. Whether or not there is a will, probate ensures that the deceased person’s estate is handled appropriately. Let’s explore how probate works both with and without a will:
Probate with a Will:
- When a person with a will (known as a testator) passes away, the executor named in the will is responsible for initiating the probate process.
- The executor files the will with the probate court, which then validates its authenticity.
- The court officially appoints the executor, granting them the legal authority to act on behalf of the deceased.
- The executor’s duties include collecting assets, paying any remaining debts, and distributing assets to beneficiaries according to the will.
Probate without a Will:
- If a person dies without a will (referred to as intestate), the probate process still takes place.
- The estate proceeds through the intestate legal process under state law.
- The probate court judge supervises the administration of the estate, ensuring that assets are distributed according to the state’s intestacy succession laws.
- The court typically designates a family member or another individual as the administrator to handle the estate.
- If no next-of-kin can be contacted, the state may take possession of the property through a process called escheat.
In summary, probate serves to review assets, determine inheritors, and ensure a fair distribution of the deceased person’s estate, whether there is a will or not. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to navigate probate, contact the Gill Law Firm for a consultation.
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