Probate Frequently Asked Questions

What Does 'Probating A Will' Mean?

Probating a will is the process which makes the wishes and directives of a person who has died a matter of public record. By admitting the Will to probate, the document is officially recognized as the Last Will and Testament of the deceased. It is highly recommended that the probate process be completed with the help of an attorney.

Why Are Wills Probated?

When someone dies, probate allows the court to ensure that the deceased person’s property is given to someone else, including creditors.

Does All Property Go Through Probate?

No. Some property transfers without the court’s help. For example, if the person who died (the decedent) held a joint bank account with someone else the bank account does not need to go through probate. Often real estate that is owned by spouses and most life insurance policies can also be inherited without probate (without the help of the court). Small estates, those that are worth less than $100,000.00, may also be inherited without the help of the court (without going through probate).

What Does 'Opening An Estate' Mean?

Opening an estate means the court gives someone the power to transfer ownership of a decedent’s assets. Once the estate is opened, the estate can then be administered.

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