Probate is a process where a will is filed with the court system. This begins the process of administering a decedent’s estate. The process of closing the estate is overseen by the court so that the estate is handled appropriately.
When a person passes away, the first thing that happens is that the executor needs to step up and file the will with the court. If there is no will, they will need to notify the court of the individual’s death.
An executor then takes on many different duties such as:
- Finding the decedent’s assets
- Determining if probate is necessary (based on the value of the property as well as the state’s current laws)
- Contacting all the people named in a will who are to inherit property or assets
- Filing the will with the appropriate probate court
- Taking care of debts, notifying individuals of the decedent’s death and other final affairs
If you are an executor of an estate, you should know that not all estates have to go through probate. However, many of them do or they may have some assets that must.
What should you do if you think that your loved one’s estate has no will?
If there is no will, then the court still needs to know that they’ve passed away. At that point, the estate will go through probate and be subject to the intestate succession laws, which dictate how assets are to be divided among potential heirs and beneficiaries. This can be a lot to take in, so if you’re fulfilling the role of an executor, you may want to take some time to speak with an attorney about what you need to do.