To begin lets discuss the meaning of
Probate.  It’s the legal proceeding that serves to prove the validity
of existing wills.  Once the will of record has been decided the
probate process will supervise the orderly distribution of the
decedent’s assets to heirs and protect creditors by insuring that valid
debts of the estate are paid.  You may be wondering if probate exists
if there is no will?  The answer is yes, the only difference is that
instead of the will determining who the executor(executrix) is and
where the assets will go, the court appoints an administrator and the
assets are distributed in accordance with state law.

When someone dies and leaves a will the person is said to have died Testate. When
a will has been left behind it makes the probate process easier in that
the will acts as instructions on how to distribute the estate’s
assets.  The Will also gives the decedent the opportunity to appoint an
executor whom is trusted.  An executor is your personal representative
who sees to it that your wishes, as contained in your Will, are carried
out after your death.  Typically most people chose a spouse, relative
or good friend, but you may choose any responsible adult you trust.

advantage to having a will is establishing a trust and appoint a
trustee to administer the inheritance left to a child until such time
they are able to handle their own affairs.  A properly drafted will can
easily provide for property or money to be held in a trust and used to
benefit the child or children until a later age.

Now, if for some reason there was not a valid Will left behind, the person is said to have died Intestate.
In this situation the estate guidance and distribution is decided by
the courts.  The terms of intestate distribution plans vary from
jurisdiction to jurisdiction and can be very complex.  Many times, but
not always, the surviving spouse and children will receive first share
of the estate.  Because the state must make assumptions about the
intent of the deceased, it can not take into account if the deceased
person wished to bequeath something to a good friend, in-law or

The biggest disadvantage to not having a will is
that if there are no surviving relatives then the entire estate will be
confiscated and accrues to the benefit of the state.  It is very
important to have a will, but if you are in a position where there is
no valid will available you should know your options.

If you are looking to sell a house that has been through probate or is currently in probate please contact Scott at

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