What is Probate?

An important part of life is creating an estate plan that allows individuals to prepare for what happens to their assets after they pass away. Part of administering an estate is the probate process. Probate is the process of deciding whether or not a deceased individual’s will is a valid document. The process also determines the value of their assets and any outstanding debts or taxes that are required to be paid. When an individual dies, there is a chance they wrote a will that must go through probate. If you are handling the estate administration process, you may wish to consult with an experienced attorney.

Filing a Will to Probate

When an estate plan is created, a person usually assigns a loved one to take care of these final wishes for them. This individual is known as an executor. To begin the process of administration, the executor must first file the deceased’s will in the Surrogate Court where they lived. Doing so requires the court to be given the death certificate, the probate petition, as well as any other necessary documents. Once the will is filed, any beneficiaries of the estate receive information of where the probate will occur.

When a will is created, there are certain guidelines that must be followed in order for the document to be legal. During the process of probate, the court will determine whether or not these rules were followed. In creating a will, an individual must be of sound mind while they sign the document. They must also sign it in the presence of witnesses with no one coercing them into doing so. If these guidelines are not followed, the will may not pass probate. If the Surrogate Court decides the will is valid, the administration process can continue.

Closing an Estate

Once probate is done, the executor may continue the rest of their responsibilities pertaining to the estate. This includes paying off any outstanding debts or taxes, resolving any contests to the will, and distributing all assets to their rightful beneficiaries. When the court believes the executor finished their duties, the process can end and the estate can be closed.

Contact our Firm

If you have been assigned as an executor and are required to take care of an estate, contact Margaret M. Mahon, Esq. LLC today.

The planning and administration of an estate requires experienced legal guidance. If you need an effective attorney to assist you with matters of wills, trusts, and estates, or the taxes associated with them, contact Margaret M. Mahon, Esq. LLC today to schedule a consultation.