What is Probate?

Probate is a court process whereby either a valid will is admitted or the State intestacy statute is applied to distribute a decedent’s property to their heirs and devisees. A traditional probate administration lasts a minimum of five (5) months but can extend much longer depending on a variety of circumstances. A probate administration involves the submission of a series of forms to the Probate Court to open the administration and appoint a Personal Representative; the Personal Representative then gathers and/or takes control of the decedent’s assets, pays remaining debts (from estate assets), prepares an accounting of earnings and expenses, distributes specific gifts, and finally, distributes the remaining assets. This process may be done through unsupervised administration or supervised administration, during which the Court holds hearings to approve each step of the process.