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. Executor

    An individual appointed to administrate the estate of a deceased ...
  4. Taxable Estate

    The total value of a deceased person's assets that are subject ...
  5. Gross Estate

    The total dollar value of all property and assets in which an ...
  6. IRS Publication 559: Survivors, ...

    A document published by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that ...
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. Personal Finance

    Want Your Will to Prevail? Don't Die Intestate

    If you die without making a last will and testament, you are said to have died intestate. What happens to your assets in this case?
  3. Professionals

    Probate Strategies

    Probate Process
  4. Retirement

    6 Ways To Lose Your Estate

    Find out why you shouldn't put off putting your affairs in order.
  5. Retirement

    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, ...
  6. Estate Planning

    Before You Agree to Be an Executor: Know This

    How to avoid 5 surprising hazards of being the executor of an estate.
  7. Personal Finance

    Which Estate Transfer Technique is Right for You?

    This article explains the difference between the two estate transfer methods -- a will and a trust, and the circumstances under which each can be used.
  8. Taxes

    Must Do No. 8: Assign TOD Designations

    Find out what you need to prepare to avoid serious estate planning mistakes.
  9. Professionals

    Executor/Personal Representative

    Executor/Personal Representative
  10. Taxes

    3 Secrets You Didn't Know About Estate Planning

    Every advisor and saver needs to know these three estate planning secrets.
RELATED FAQS
  1. When are beneficiaries of a will notified?

    Learn when the beneficiaries of a will must be notified, and understand how this requirement varies depending on whether ... Read Answer >>
  2. 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 >>
  3. How is maintenance of standard of living for survivors accomplished in estate planning?

    Understand what elements of an estate plan can assist in creating certainty for survivors that allows them to maintain their ... Read Answer >>
  4. 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 >>
  5. My husband left his ex-wife as his retirement plan beneficiary. Can this be changed?

    Even when assets are divided following a divorce, in many cases, former spouses and heirs engage the services of attorneys ... Read Answer >>
  6. Are estate planning fees tax deductible?

    The costs of estate planning can be significant. Are any of these expenses deductible to the taxpayer or are they merely ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Cost Of Debt

    The effective rate that a company pays on its current debt. This can be measured in either before- or after-tax returns; ...
  2. Yield Curve

    A line that plots the interest rates, at a set point in time, of bonds having equal credit quality, but differing maturity ...
  3. Stop-Limit Order

    An order placed with a broker that combines the features of stop order with those of a limit order. A stop-limit order will ...
  4. Keynesian Economics

    An economic theory of total spending in the economy and its effects on output and inflation. Keynesian economics was developed ...
  5. Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications ...

    A member-owned cooperative that provides safe and secure financial transactions for its members. Established in 1973, the ...
  6. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles - GAAP

    The common set of accounting principles, standards and procedures that companies use to compile their financial statements. ...
Trading Center