What is Probate?
Probate is a process or legal means of disposing or allocating the properties of a deceased person based on his/her will. This process involves quite a lot of paper work and documentation and several appearances in court by lawyers. Payment for the process, including lawyers’ fees, is usually sourced from the “property” involved in the whole proceeding.
The first and most important part of the process is the deceased person’s will. Since this is a legal process, the deceased person’s will must be declared in court as “valid”. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be a probate “process” at all. The next step usually involves the identification and inventory of the property or properties left by the deceased person. In this part, lawyers go through piles of records and long hours studying and analyzing all details of the property/properties involved. After all properties are identified, they will be subject to appraisal to get their present value. But along with getting records of which properties are part of the will and which part are not, lawyers also come up with records on the deceased person’s outstanding loans and taxes. All these unpaid loans and taxes will be deducted from the supposed value or appraised value of the properties. The remaining amount will represent the property for distribution based on the legal “will”.
In administering probate, there are certain guidelines that need to be followed. First and foremost are legal notices and advice to creditors. Those who are tagged as the “executor” of the legal ‘will’ should also be guided in the whole process including how and when to dispose the properties involved. There are also time constraints in terms of the validity of a request or objection to a probate proceeding. There are also cases wherein real-estate property is sold to correctly distribute its supposed or appraised value among lawful beneficiaries or to be used as payment for debt.