Probate is a court-supervised process for finding and gathering the assets of a deceased person, paying any debts, distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries, and winding up his or her affairs.
If the decedent had a will, it must be deposited with the clerk of the circuit court within 10 days of death. However, the probate process doesn’t begin until a petition is filed, and the decedent’s will has no legal effect until it is admitted to probate by the court. Whether or not there was a will, probate is required to pass ownership of the decedent’s assets to the persons who are entitled to receive them.
A personal representative, known elsewhere as “executor,” is appointed by the judge to administer the decedent’s probate estate. Serving as personal representative is a responsible job, and mismanagement of the estate can result in personal liability to the beneficiaries. For this reason, it’s important to consult a probate attorney who can provide legal advice to the personal representative and represent him or her throughout the estate proceedings.
Contact McDannold Law to learn more about the probate process.