Probate is a court procedure by which a will is proved to be the valid or invalid. However, through current usage, the term probate has been expanded to refer to the legal process by which the estate of a decedent is administered. Generally, speaking, the probate process involves collecting a decedent’s assets, liquidating liabilities, paying necessary taxes and distributing property to beneficiaries/heirs. These activities are carried out by the executor or administrator of the estate, usually under the supervision of the probate court.
There are books written on the subject and many people believe that they should avoid probate due to the perceived high cost. Should one try to avoid probate is a decision that should not be made without consultation of family members, attorneys, certified public accountants and other professionals. With proper planning, probate can be very simple, less stressful and inexpensive for all involved.