Probate is the legal process through which the court makes sure that your will is valid, your debts are paid and your assets are distribtued correctly.

What is the Purpose of Probate?

The purpose of probate is to establish clear title of your assets after your death. It is a public proceeding that has been established to make sure that you and your heirs are: (1) not hiding anything from the Federal and State governments; (2) paying all appropriate taxes; (3) paying additional court costs and (4) notifying all heirs of their possible inheritance.

Some information about Probate includes:

  • Probate removes your name from the title of the assets so title can be passed to someone else.
  • Estates with assets over $100,000 or real estate within the jurisdiction must go through probate.
  • Probate is judicial intervention into your affairs.
  • Probate is time consuming and can take anywhere from 2 months to 2 years.
  • Probate is expensive and can cost anywhere between 2 to 10% of your total estate’s value.
  • All Wills are not valid. A probate court sees will as form over substance, meaning that it does not matter what it states, if the form of the document does not comport with the acceptable form, the Will can be invalidated.
  • In probate, there is no guarantee that the inheritance that you want to provide will be followed.
  • If a Will is invalidated or if there is no Will, then a court will follow legislation called ‘In Testate Succession,’ which determines who inherits what.