What Happens During Probate?
Probate is a legal proceeding that occurs after a person passes away. It is designed to ensure that the correct persons inherit the property and possessions that the deceased person left.
To accomplish this, a person is appointed by the local probate court as the Executor or Personal Representative. That is the person who is either named as Executor in the Will which was left by the person, or the person who has that right by statute in the event the deceased person failed to leave a Will.
Once the Executor has been appointed, he or she will do a number of things:
- Locate and gather together all of the property, possessions, and accounts that were owned by the person who passed away
- Publish a Notice to Creditors in the local newspaper to alert creditors that, if the deceased person owed them any money, they must file a claim with the probate court within 4 months in order to be able to enforce that claim.
- Pay off the debts of the deceased person (but only from the assets left behind. The Executor and the heirs are not under any circumstances to use their own assets to take care of the decedent’s debts).
- Liquidate the property that is not specifically earmarked for, or desired by, a particular heir.
- Divide and distribute the remaining property to the correct heirs.
- File a final report with the court confirming that everything has been correctly done.
On this journey, there are many detailed steps to accomplish and report this process to the probate court and to the heirs. But, in broad strokes, these are the things that an Executor must accomplish in a probate proceeding.
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 BarryPeters-Law.com/answers-to-questions. 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.