Probate

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Probate'

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.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS '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. Widow's Exemption

    In general terms, a widow's exemption refers to the amount that ...
  2. Named Beneficiary

    This term refers to any beneficiary named in a will, a trust, ...
  3. Estate Tax

    A tax levied on an heir's inherited portion of an estate if the ...
  4. Estate Planning

    The collection of preparation tasks that serve to manage an individual's ...
  5. Will

    A legally enforceable declaration of how a person wishes his ...
  6. Estate

    All of the valuable things an individual owns, such as real estate, ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the difference between revocable and irrevocable intervivos trusts?

    Within estate planning, individuals have a myriad of options for maintaining control over assets beyond the grave. A tool ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is a family Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

    A family limited liability company (LLC) is formed by family members to conduct business in a state that permits such form ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How is maintenance of standard of living for survivors accomplished in estate planning?

    Estate planning is an integral component of comprehensive financial planning, as it allows individuals and couples to maintain ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the difference between an intervivos trust and a testamentary trust?

    Estate planning offers tools to establish and maintain effective control over cash, investment and real estate assets during ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the differences between a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and a Certified ...

    The differences between a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) are many, but comes down ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How does a revocable trust become a split-interest trust?

    A revocable trust is set up during the lifetime of the grantor who begins the trust. The grantor has the right to modify ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Top 7 Estate Planning Mistakes

    Many people try to avoid this process altogether, making things difficult for heirs.
  2. Retirement

    Estate Planning: 16 Things To Do Before You Die

    Find out what you need to prepare to avoid serious estate planning mistakes.
  3. Retirement

    Ethical Wills Share Final Thoughts With Heirs

    This document allows a testator, the person making the will, to leave a personal legacy.
  4. Retirement

    6 Ways To Lose Your Estate

    Find out why you shouldn't put off putting your affairs in order.
  5. 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.
  6. Options & Futures

    How To Avoid Taxation On Life Insurance Proceeds

    Decrease the value of your taxable estate and prevent the tax man from getting you one last time.
  7. Retirement

    Why You Should Draft A Will

    Don't trust the courts to follow your wishes - plan the distribution of your own assets.
  8. Retirement

    Establishing A Revocable Living Trust

    This arrangement allows you to have more control over your estate - both before and after your death.
  9. Options & Futures

    Getting Started On Your Estate Plan

    With some preparation, you can save your heirs from paying a hefty estate tax. Here are some tips.
  10. Options & Futures

    Three Documents You Shouldn't Do Without

    Estate planning is not just about the division of assets after you die. Read on to save your loved ones extra grief.

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Social Security

    A United States federal program of social insurance and benefits developed in 1935. The Social Security program's benefits ...
  2. American Dream

    The belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version ...
  3. Multicurrency Note Facility

    A credit facility that finances short- to medium-term Euro notes. Multicurrency note facilities are denominated in many currencies. ...
  4. National Currency

    The currency or legal tender issued by a nation's central bank or monetary authority. The national currency of a nation is ...
  5. Treasury Yield

    The return on investment, expressed as a percentage, on the debt obligations of the U.S. government. Treasuries are considered ...
  6. Bund

    A bond issued by Germany's federal government, or the German word for "bond." Bunds are the German equivalent of U.S. Treasury ...
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!