Probate process is a legal process where the property of the deceased person is distributed in accordance to his last will and testament. The probate process is applicable even if the will is invalid. The only difference is that, without a valid will the laws of the state where you live specify who gets what parts of your estate. The probate process shall start by the determining the assets and liabilities of the testator. Once it is determined, the debts incurred by the deceased including unpaid taxes shall be deducted to the portion of the inheritance. Next, the assets of the testator shall be divided to his or her beneficiaries.
There are several things that are involved in a probate proceeding, this includes the following:
- Proving that the will is valid;
- Appointing a legal representative;
- Taking inventory and appraising the decedent’s property;
- Paying Debts and taxes; and
- Distributing the property in accordance to the terms of the will.
The cost of the probate proceeding is different from state to state and province to province. Usually the average is ranging between 0.5% and 2% of your estate. But that is not all, there are more costs associated with distributing your assets, some other costs are executor and attorney fees, executor fees can range up to 4%. Then there are always taxes your estate will have to pay before transferring assets. The length of the probate proceedings depends on the complexity, clarity and sense of the will. More so, the size of the estates is also a factor for the length of time of the probate proceedings. The larger and complicated the estate the longer it will take to settle. Often times, it takes 1-2 years to be fully settled without any complications. If you want a speed up process it is recommended that your will must be valid and updated.