Probating a Will
Probate is a legal process that validates a will. While it is usually straightforward, certain circumstances may arise that call into question the terms of a will. In the case of a will dispute, a probate court hears arguments concerning its validity. If it is declared invalid, the court then decides how the assets it names will be distributed.
During the probate process:
- A court determines the validity of the will of a deceased person.
- The property of a deceased person is identified, inventoried, and appraised.
- Any outstanding debts, creditor claims, and taxes owed by a deceased person are paid.
The property that remains is distributed in the way outlined in the will. This process is usually overseen by an executor who is named in the will.
Even if there is no will, probating still must occur. In this case there is no executor, and that duty is often filled by a court-appointed administrator. The executor or administrator (called the personal representative) is responsible for handling applicable estate taxes.
The entire probate process could take anywhere from a few months to years, depending on the circumstances. In the case of a contested will, the process can be quite lengthy.
The attorneys at Vaught & Boutris are experienced in matters related to probating a will and would be happy to discuss your options with you.