There is never a good time for a loved one to pass away. But understanding the basics can help give you the confidence and clarity to push through this challenging process so you’ll be free to tend to yourself and your loved ones.
What is probate?
Probate is a formal process that is supervised by a court. It’s the way of ensuring that an individual’s last wishes are carried out through a series of legal actions. This includes the validation of the person’s last will and testament, provided one was officially made. This is also when the deceased individual’s taxes and outstanding debts are resolved. Once all these financial matters are settled, the assets that remain are distributed amongst those who should rightfully inherit them.
During this judicial process, the last will and testament of the person who has died is proven to be a valid public document and accepted as such. Without an official will, it may be considerably more difficult to settle the distribution of assets. As long as the document can be verified as the true last will and testament of the deceased, this often works out to be an extremely helpful piece of the puzzle.
The first thing that happens in probate is communication with the court. From there, someone has to be appointed as the personal representative. This person is then responsible for a number of important tasks in this process, such as submitting the will, inventorying all assets, and submitting relevant assets for valuation. Once all this is done, the court as well as the beneficiaries all have to give everything their stamp of approval.
It’s hard to imagine a situation where a loved one passes away and it doesn’t lead to complications. Probate can often be a challenging and intimidating legal process, but there are cases in which it’s the best move forward for your family and the estate of your loved one.