Probate is the court-supervised legal process to settle the estate of a decedent.
The Probate process generally includes
the following key steps:
- Open an Estate and Submit Will to Probate
- Appoint a Personal Representative to administer the estate
- Notify heirs and beneficiaries
- Publish a Notice to Creditors
- Identify, inventory, value, and protect property owned by the decedent, and pay Inventory Fee
- Sell property, as applicable and necessary
- Pay decedent’s debts, taxes, and expenses of administration
- Submit a Final Accounting
- Transfer the remainder of the property to the decedent’s beneficiaries or heirs, and close the estate
The minimum length of time for a probate is 5 months; but the average time is between 7 months and 1 year. Detailed forms and documents must be filed with the probate court, and all filings, hearings, and court orders must be made in accordance with statutory deadlines and the Probate Court’s schedule. Note that all filings become public records.
But Not all Property is subject to Probate.
The following property passes outside
of the Probate process:
- Property that has a designated beneficiary
- Property that is jointly owned
- Property with pay-on-death provisions
- Property that is in a Trust
- Vehicles with a value of less than $60,000.00, and boats and watercraft with a combined value of less than $100,000.00
PROBATE COURT is also the Court with jurisdiction over incompetent adults, and has the power to:
- Appoint Guardians and Conservators for persons who become mentally or physically incapacitated
- Commit a mentally disturbed person to a mental facility