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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on May 10, 2016

Probate is the legal process that takes place after someone dies. It is typically done in court and handled by lawyers as well as by the executor determined by the will. They prove that the will is valid, identify and inventory the deceased person’s property, appraise the property, pay back debts and taxes and then distribute the remaining assets according to the will. The lawyers and court fees are also usually paid for by the estate property.

How does the probate process work?

After someone dies, the person named as the executor by the will files papers in the local probate court. If the will does not name an executor, the judge will appoint one. The executor must prove the will’s validity and provide the court with a list of all the deceased’s property, debts and those who will inherit what is left over.

The probate process usually takes a few months to a year and it can vary depending on how many assets and debts the deceased person has. The executor usually settles debts by selling the person’s assets. After the whole process is completed, the remaining property will be transferred to its new owners.

Does all property have to go through probate?

Not all property has to go through probate. If the deceased is survived by a spouse the property can be easily transferred to him or her. Property that passes outside of the will such as a joint tenancy or a living trust is also not subject to probate.

Should I plan to avoid probate?

Probate typically does not benefit beneficiaries and usually ends up costing them money. Probate should only be necessary if you have complicated debts that will need to be resolved after you pass. If you’re 50 or older it would be start to start planning to avoid probate.

If your family is going through a probate or would like help planning to avoid a probate, contact us here.