Probate

What is a 'Probate'

A probate is the legal process in which a will is reviewed to determine whether it is valid and authentic. Probate also refers to the general administering of a deceased person's will or the estate of a deceased person without a will. The court appoints either an executor named in the will (or an administrator if there is no will) to administer the process of collecting the assets of the deceased person, paying any liabilities remaining on the person's estate and finally distributing the assets of the estate to beneficiaries named in the will or determined as such by the executor.

BREAKING DOWN 'Probate'

Because of the costs of court involvement in the probate process and the potential for involvement of lawyers who collect fees from the estate of the deceased, many people try to minimize costs associated with the probate process. There are tremendous legal and tax complexities in the probate process, so it is advisable to have a will and speak with a lawyer and financial professional in order to insure that your loved ones are not left with the complicated and often messy task of distributing the assets of your estate upon your passing.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Personal Representative

    The executor or administrator for the estate of a deceased person. ...
  2. Intestate

    The act of dying without a legal will. Determining the distribution ...
  3. Taxable Estate

    The total value of a deceased person's assets that are subject ...
  4. Last Will And Testament

    A legal document that communicates a person's final wishes, as ...
  5. IRS Publication 559: Survivors, ...

    A document published by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that ...
  6. Gross Estate

    The total dollar value of all property and assets in which an ...
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    How To Choose The Right Executor For Your Estate

    Making a careful choice now can save your heirs from a lot of problems later.
  2. Retirement

    Skipping-Out on Probate Costs

    Don't let bad estate planning lead to unnecessary costs and stress for your inheritors.
  3. Retirement

    6 Ways To Lose Your Estate

    Find out why you shouldn't put off putting your affairs in order.
  4. Managing Wealth

    Advanced Estate Planning: Executor Selection And Guide

    By Steven Merkel After your death, your executor or estate administrator will be responsible for following the guidelines listed in your will including conducting an inventory of your property, ...
  5. Managing Wealth

    Before You Agree to Be an Executor: Know This

    How to avoid 5 surprising hazards of being the executor of an estate.
  6. Managing Wealth

    Advanced Estate Planning: Using Trusts

    By Steven Merkel While making a will is one of the most important documents in estate planning, there are typically always a few items, property, or accounts that while they're included in your ...
  7. Financial Advisor

    5 Ways to Mess Up Estate Planning

    There are several ways to make an estate plan defective, most of which can be easily avoided by periodic plan reviews.
  8. Retirement

    Estate Planning Basics

    Anyone who dies without an estate plan leaves the state to administer his or her assets. Loved ones might be left out, and the state might keep the assets if it can’t find the proper beneficiaries. ...
  9. Financial Advisor

    4 Things To Consider Before Becoming An Estate Executor

    Executing a will takes more work than you might think. Make sure you are up to the task before agreeing to be an executor.
  10. Managing Wealth

    Estate Planning for Singles

    Now that singles dominate the population, it's important they understand the essentials of estate planning for indivdiuals.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What should I consider when I select an executor for my will?

    The executor of a will is the person designated with the task of administering the will's instructions. The responsibilities ... Read Answer >>
  2. How do I handle the taxes 1099-R contributions?

    Total employee’s contributions on the 1099 R form are $18,822.00. Does the executor of the estate ... Read Answer >>
  3. Can I pass on the stock certificates to my son in my will?

    I was told I could get stock certificates from the company that I retired from. Will my son get the st... Read Answer >>
  4. How much are the taxes on a $10,000 life insurance policy?

    The owner of the policy is deceased.  ... Read Answer >>
  5. What is estate planning?

    Estate planning involves making plans for the transfer of your estate after death. Your estate is all the property that you ... Read Answer >>
  6. Are there high capital gains when there's low income?

    My father sold a piece of property that he had inherited in order to pay for assisted living expenses.... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. European Union - EU

    A group of European countries that participates in the world economy as one economic unit and operates under one official ...
  2. Sell-Off

    The rapid selling of securities, such as stocks, bonds and commodities. The increase in supply leads to a decline in the ...
  3. Brazil, Russia, India And China - BRIC

    An acronym for the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China combined. It has been speculated that by 2050 these four ...
  4. Brexit

    The Brexit, an abbreviation of "British exit" that mirrors the term Grexit, refers to the possibility of Britain's withdrawal ...
  5. Underweight

    1. A situation where a portfolio does not hold a sufficient amount of a particular security when compared to the security's ...
  6. Russell 3000 Index

    A market capitalization weighted equity index maintained by the Russell Investment Group that seeks to be a benchmark of ...
Trading Center