Reposted with permission from Eric Maurer | emaurer@ortc.com | Old Republic Title

Everyone has a will or plan, whether created or by default. Even if you have not made out a will or a trust, you still have a plan – a plan dictated by the laws of the state where you reside upon your death. Making a will is not a way to avoid “probate”, the court procedure that changes the legal ownership of your property after your death. Probate makes sure it is your last valid will, appoints the executor named in your will and supervises the executor’s work. You can do several things now that can help your executor and family later, hopefully much later on.

Probate-Some Basics I am in possession of a will that distributes the decedent’s estate to me, isn’t this all I need? No. The will must be admitted to probate and the estate of the decedent must be “probated.”

What does “probate” actually mean? Generally, probate is a court proceeding that administers the estate of an individual.

What is the purpose of “estate administration”? Generally, there are five purposes, many of which have subsets to them:
1. To determine that the decedent is in fact dead,
2. To establish the validity of the will,
3. To identify the heirs and devisees of the dece- dent,
4. To settle any claims that creditors may have against the estate of the decedent, and
5. To distribute the property

Guide to Probate – Eric Maurer

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