Probate: What is it?

Probate: What is it?

In its simplest form, probate is the legal process that makes sure that the right people inherit the property and possessions of a person who has passed away.

Without the legal probate process, the situation can turn into a free-for-all, or worse.

The probate process is initiated with a petition filed with the probate court that basically asks for two things:  (1) A determination by the court as to whether or not the person who passed away left a valid Last Will and Testament; and (2) The court’s determination of who has the right to be appointed as the Executor of the probate estate.

Once the court makes those two findings, then the rest of the process involves:

  • Locating and collecting all of the property and possessions of the decedent;
  • Payment of all valid debts of the decedent and the costs of administering the probate estate; and
  • The disbursement of the remaining assets to the rightful heirs.


Once that has all taken place, the probate process may be concluded. 


Author: Barry Peters. For additional easy-to-understand information on Wills, Trusts, and Probate, call attorney Barry Peters’ offices at (208) 939-2600 for your expedited appointment for a FREE OFFICE CONSULTATION or visit his Q & A pages at As always, your total satisfaction is guaranteed by Barry Peters, Attorney at Law, where all clients receive individual attention to the details of their unique circumstances.

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We thought the service you performed for us was perfect. We are so thankful you explained the difference between a "Will" and the "Trust" that you set up for us. We have shared this with several people in hopes they would see the important differences." (John & Sandy S., Meridian, Idaho)