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What are the steps of the probate process?

No one ever celebrates the probate process, but they certainly like to celebrate the day that it's over. This is when the assets of the probated estate begin to get distributed, and the beneficiaries get to benefit from whatever moneys that were left to them. Also, even if the estate doesn't have any assets involved with it, family members will usually breathe a sigh of relief and feel a sense of closure that the estate is finally settled.

If you're currently in the midst of probate proceedings, you're probably very aware that you want the process to be over and done with. Here is a short list of guideline that will help you stay on track with the process and how much more will be required before your probate process is done:

  • Gathering all the probatable property and calculating all of the debts of the decedent.
  • Communicating with creditors and tending to all remaining debts by using the money in the estate to pay them off when necessary.
  • Searching out any of the decedent's rights to receive dividends or income.
  • Settling any disputes or debts brought forward in the claims process by creditors.
  • Distributing the remaining assets to heirs.

The above steps will be managed and often personally carried out by the person who the decedent named to be the executor of the estate. This individual will have a lot of responsibility when it comes to the way he or she treats funds and other assets in the estate. In fact, if the executor mismanages the estate and its assets, the beneficiaries can bring a lawsuit against him or her to receive their share of the estate.

Source: FindLaw, "The Basics of Probate," accessed Jan. 26, 2018

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