Probate And Alternative Forms Of Testamentary Disposition
Probate is generally a term that refers to the court proceedings required to make sure the property of a deceased person goes to the right people. Probate technically refers to estates where the deceased person left a Will but in lay terms, it includes the administration of estates where the deceased person died without a Will also. In any event, if the deceased person has a property that is titled in his name alone at the time of death, without any other alternative form of testamentary direction, the court has to oversee the distribution of that property. However, in most cases, the Will, if there is one, is filed, the paperwork necessary to open a court proceeding is completed and filed and the executor or administrator is appointed. Notice is published in a local newspaper informing the public that claims for any debts owed by the decedent should be filed with the court within six months or forever be foreclosed. Then the process of gathering assets and debt information takes place, debts are paid or negotiated, assets liquidated or distributed, cash is accumulated and deposited into an estate bank account opened by the executor or administrator. The executor will continue to pay bills, may handle the sale of real estate, and may choose to make early distributions of some of the assets to the heirs while waiting for the six month claim period to pass or not. After the closing of the claims period, paperwork is completed and filed to close the estate.