What is probate?

Probate is the process of transferring assets from someone who has passed away to the beneficiaries of their Will, or to their legal heirs. It also ensures that the deceased person’s debts are paid.

Do I have to go through probate?

The type of probate process needed depends on the type of estate planning documents executed by the deceased person and the value of the assets. Assets that have a designated beneficiary typically do not have to go through the probate process.

What does intestate mean?

Intestate means that a person passed without a Will. The deceased person’s assets will be distributed to the deceased person’s legal heirs pursuant to the laws of intestate succession.

What is an Affidavit of Entitlement?

In certain situations, if a deceased person’s assets are less than $20,000.00, a form called an Affidavit of Entitlement can be completed, which will transfer the deceased person’s assets without the need of any court proceedings.

What is a set aside?

A set aside is the shortest form of court proceedings to transfer assets. If the deceased person’s total assets are less than $100,000, a set aside petition can be filed with the court transferring assets.

What is a summary administration?

The summary administration process is shortened probate process that can be used if the deceased person’s assets are over $100,000.00 but less than $200,000.00. A 60 day Notice to Creditors must be filed, and creditors are given 60 days to file claims requesting to be paid from the deceased person’s assets.

What is a general administration?

The general administration process is used if the deceased person’s assets exceed $200,000.00. A 90 day Notice to Creditors must be filed, and creditors are given 90 days to file claims against the Estate.

How long does probate take?

The time needed for probate depends on the value of the assets and complexity of the estate planning documents. A general administration will take a minimum of 90 days due to the Notice to Creditors, and four to six months is a general time frame, although this can vary on a case by case basis.

What is an Executor or Administrator?

An Executor is a person named in a Will to serve as the deceased person’s personal representative and process and administer the deceased person’s assets through probate. An Administrator has the same duties and responsibilities as an Executor, but is appointed when a person does not have a Will.

What can I do to avoid probate?

Estate planning is the key to avoiding probate. Setting up a trust or even simple beneficiary designations, including a beneficiary deed for real property, will avoid the probate process. Planning ahead is key to keeping your loved ones from having to go through probate and minimizing the financial impact of your passing.