What is Probate?

Definition of Guardianship

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Probate is a process that is carried out to determine the validity or authenticity of a will. This legal process, which can be very challenging, expensive, and lengthy, also refers to the administration of a deceased will or the estate of an individual without a will.

After the death of an estate owner, the court chooses either an executor indicated in the will or an administrator (if there exist no will) to administer the probate process. The probate process involves obtaining the assets of a deceased individual to settle all outstanding debts remaining on the individual’s estate, and sharing the assets of the estate to the designated beneficiaries.

How does Probate Work?

When an estate owner dies, his assets are scrutinized by the probate court. It is the job of the probate court to provide the ultimate verdict on the division and sharing of assets to designated beneficiaries. A probate session will start by examining whether or not the descendent has provides a valid will.

In a lot of cases, the decedent has established documentation, which consist of instructions regarding how they want their assets to be distributed after death. But, in some cases, the descendent dies without creating a valid will.

How does Probate Work without a Will?

When an individual dies without creating a will, he is said to have died intestate. An intestate estate is also one where the will tabled before the court is said to be invalid. The probate process for an intestate estate is quite different from that of an estate with a will. Assets distributed in this case are usually based on the state laws. If a decedent lacks assets, probate may not be required.

Generally, a probate court proceeding usually begins with the nomination of an administrator to supervise the estate of the decedent. This individual acts as an executor, collecting all legal claims against the estate and settling all unpaid debts.

The estate administrator is charged with locating any legal heirs of the decedent, including surviving spouses, children, and parents. The probate court will evaluate what assets needs to be shared among the legal heirs and how they should be shared. The probate laws in a lot of states divide property among the surviving spouses and children of the decedent.

Disadvantages of Probate

The probate process has a few disadvantages. For this reason, a competent estate planning lawyer will always advise that you set up a trust, a legal document that helps prevent probate. Let us take a look at some of the downsides of the probate process.

Very expensive

Probate is a very expensive process.  Because of the expenses associated with this process, the size of your estate can shrink, and huge amounts of properties you worked for could be lost. The costs of probate are numerous and they include court filing fees, appraiser’s fees, personal representative’s fees, including attorney’s fees. All state has its own technique by which probate attorney charge their clients.


This is no doubt, one of the greatest disadvantages of the probate process. After the death of an estate owner, the families and loved ones would want all regarding his estate to be settled so that everyone can move on as quickly as possible. However, with probate, this may be impossible. The probate process can take a long time, thus, causing long delays in transfer of assets to beneficiaries. Generally, the time taken to conclude a probate process is 6 months. However, it is not unusual for the normal probate process to take two years. In fact, many probate can take as long as three to five years.

No Privacy

As soon as your will undergoes probate, it becomes a matter of public record. This means that anyone can decide to visit the court and look at your will. A notice is usually published in the newspaper or posted at the courthouse indicating the fact of death including other information you may not want the public to see.

Who is a Probate Lawyer?

A probate lawyer is a lawyer who is versed in the probate process. This professional is will work with estate administrator or executor to ensure that all regarding the estate of the deceased is taken care of, exactly the way it should. . Contact a probate lawyer Buffalo, NY, if you want to overcome probate without difficulty.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The content of this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments. No attorney-client relationship is formed by reading this blog or contacting Morgan Legal Group.

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