Defining Probate

Defining probateIf you were to tell someone that you were dealing with a Probate case, many people would not understand what that means. While some people may understand the process, defining probate may be needed to understand it in more clearer terms.

Probate is a legal process which takes place after someone dies. Probate usually includes proving in court that a deceased person’s Will is valid, identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s property, having the property appraised, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining property as the Will, or state law, directs.

Lawyers usually prepare and present paperwork to the court during the probate process. Sometimes it is okay if you do not have the money to pay the lawyer right away because some attorneys will agree to take the fee from the estate instead.


Since the deceased person’s property is going to be passed through probate, some people may wonder if all property would need to go through probate. The answer to that is no. If the deceased person has a living trust which contains their property, then the property would not need to go through the probate process.

When a person is deceased, you should look to see if they have a Will. In the Will, they will appoint a personal representative, as well as an alternate if the named person does not want to or is unwilling to serve. The personal representative is the person who is responsible for handling the probate. If there is no Will, the court can appoint an administrator to handle the probate. Usually, the administrator is a close living relative who resides in the same state as the probate.