Today, the estate administration & probate process is a court-supervised event designed to transfer the property of a person after they die. Generally speaking, property subject to probate was owned by the deceased person before they died and does not pass on to others through ownership or designation, like life insurance policies with a listed beneficiary.
The estate administration & probate process can either be uncontested or contested. In some cases, a contested issue arises during the probate process when someone believes a decedent did not know what they were doing while making gifts or did not follow proper legal procedures when drafting their will. However, most probated estates are uncontested.
During the estate administration & probate process, the following steps usually take place:
- All the probate property of the decedent is collected
- Any claims, taxes, and debts owned by the estate are paid
- Any rights to income and dividends are collected
- Any remaining disputes are settled
- Property is transferred and distributed to heirs
In most cases, the decedent designates a person, the executor, to manage their affairs after they die. However, if an executor is not named in the will, a personal representative, otherwise known as an administrator, is named by the court for the purpose of settling the estate. This person is responsible for fulfilling the same duties listed above.
If you have any questions about the probate process or estate planning in general, please reach out to us at NorthPointe Law Group. We are always happy to help!