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What is Probate?

Probate is a court-supervised process for identifying and gathering a decedent’s assets, paying estate taxes, claims, and expenses, and distributing assets to beneficiaries. Ideally, the deceased defined their wishes prior to death through estate planning tools such as wills and trusts. If that is the case, the probate will be a relatively smooth and efficient process.

When a decedent owns assets, it is sometimes necessary to undertake a probate administration of the estate. This is true whether the decedent died with or without a will. When there is a will, it is said that the person died “testate.” If there is no will, the person is said to have died “intestate.” In either case, it is beneficial to seek the assistance of an experienced attorney to oversee the administration of the estate.