Five Steps In The Probate Process

3 Minutes Posted on:

About Me

Buying a Franchise Do you have a head for business? Perhaps, your dream is to own and operate a franchise. If buying a franchise is at the top of your priority list, consider hiring an experienced business attorney to help you with this important task. A business attorney can help you accurately and efficiently complete the complex paperwork required to get your franchise up and running. This professional can also advise you of any legal actions you need to take to protect your investment. On this blog, I hope you will discover how a business attorney can help you turn your dreams of buying a franchise into a reality. Enjoy!




When a loved one dies, their estate must go through probate. This is the legal process whereby their will, if they have one, is officially filed with the courts, transfer of ownership occurs to the heirs, and bills are finalized. It is a fairly straightforward process, but it is best handled by an attorney experienced in probate services, especially if the deceased died intestate, or without a will, or if a business is a part of the estate. Here is what to expect from the process.

The Will Is Validated

State law governs the process of validating a will. It is not uncommon in large estates where the stakes are high for a family member to contest the validity of a will. For example, an heir may claim the will isn't valid as they believe it to have been made under duress or when they were no longer of a sound mind. In most cases, however, the will is accepted as is.

An Administrator Is Chosen

If someone has died with a will, they will have normally chosen who they would like to oversee their final financial affairs and the settlement of their estate. This person is called the executor. If they failed to name an executor, or the will is outdated and the chosen person is no longer available, or they don't have a last will and testament at all, someone else must be chosen as the estate administrator. The candidates are, in order of legal preference, a surviving spouse, followed by adult children, followed by adult grandchildren, followed by surviving parent(s), followed by siblings, followed by nieces and nephews.   

If there are no family members who are able or willing to serve as an administrator, creditors or another qualified person may be chosen by the probate court to handle the responsibility. The chosen person will be recompensed for their service from the estate.

Notice Is Given To Creditors

State law varies on how notification must be made and the timeframe they have to make a claim against the estate. An advertisement is often placed in the newspaper notifying the public. During this time, an inventory of the estate is also made. This allows the executor or administrator to appraise the value of the estate.

Debts Are Paid

All debts must be examined for their validity. Those that are found valid will be paid, as will any remaining funeral or medical expenses. Some of the decedent's assets may need to be liquidated, or sold, to pay the bills.

Transfer Of Ownership Occurs

Once all debts are paid in full to the satisfaction of the court, the heirs may receive their inheritance. This may include transferring the deed to a home or other real estate property, the titles to vehicles, and the disbursement of monies.

• Tags: • 465 Words