|What Is Probate?|
Probate is the process by which legal title
of property is transferred from the
decedent's estate to his/her beneficiaries. Since you can't take it with you, the court determines who gets it.
If a person dies with a Will ("testate"),
the probate court determines if the Will is valid, hears any objections to the Will,
orders that creditors be paid and supervises the process to assure that property remaining
is distributed in accordance with the terms and
conditions of the Will.
If a person dies without a Will ("intestate"), the probate court
appoints a person to receive all claims against the estate, pay creditors and then distribute all remaining property in accordance with the laws of the state.
The major difference between dying testate
and dying intestate is that an intestate estate is distributed to beneficiaries in accordance with the distribution
plan established by state law; a testate estate (after payment of debts, taxes and costs of administration) is distributed
in accordance with the instructions provided by the decedent in his/her Will.
cost of probate is either set by state
law or by practice and custom in your
community. The typical cost to probate an estate is in the range of 3%
to 7% of the total estate value.
You may have heard that you should avoid probate, but you may not even be sure what probate is. Here are the basics.
NOLO.Law Resources continued
An introduction to the most popular ways to avoid probate on the
- Payable-on-Death Bank Accounts
- Retirement Accounts
- Transfer-on-Death Registration of
- Transfer-on-Death Registration for
- Joint Ownership
- Joint Tenancy With Right of Survivorship
- In Texas, you need a separate written
- Tenancy by the Entirety
- Community Property
- Community Property States
- What Is Community Property?
- Revocable Living Trusts
- Claiming property with affidavits -- no court
They're all the rage. But how many people know that Roth IRAs are also a great
way to leave money to your heirs without probate?
A handful of reasons why you should do what you can to avoid the probate process.
8 Ways to Avoid Probate Easy steps to keep your family out of probate court, saving them time, money and stress. Sale Price: $16.95
Quicken ® Lawyer Software
This popular interactive soft-ware lets you plan your estate, step by step. Write
a will, living trust, financial power of attorney, final arrangements document and authorizations and agreements. Sale Price:
Nolo Press; Windows 95 / 98 / NT / 2000 / Me / XP