Viewing Question: What is Probate?

What is Probate?

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You hear the term probate thrown around a lot with respect to trusts and estate planning, but what actually does it mean?

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  1. Broadly speaking, Probate Court is a special court which decides what to do with the assets of a deceased person. Probate court examines the wills, assets, and claims against the assets of a deceased person and tries to settle their affairs. During probate, the court begins by examines wills, posting notice to creditors. The court solicits claims against the individual’s assets, and pays them from the individual’s estate. Next, they divide up the decedent’s property the way it was laid out in their will. If there are contested claims, they will also hear arguments on how their assets should be distributed if necessary.

    There is also a lot of talk about “keeping things out of probate”. The reason to keep assets out of probate is several fold: First of all, probate is a court, and as such it requires the work of attorneys to navigate probate. This can potentially be an expensive proposition, and may cost upwards of ten thousand dollars if the estate is larger, complex, or large. Second, probate is a public process, whereas other vehicles are private.

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