Probate is the process of transferring a decedent’s assets to the persons or institutions entitled to receive them. The probate process consists of:
- Collection of assets: The appointed personal representative is given authority to collect and gather the decedent’s real and personal property, as well as debts due him or her.
- Payment of debts and taxes: The representative is also responsible for notifying known creditors, and, by publishing a notice of probate of administration, unknown creditors. Creditors may assert their rights, and creditor’s claims may be rejected by the representative or the court. Probate likewise provides a method of determining state and federal taxes due because of death.
- Distribution of the estate: This process is also who is or may be entitled to receive the decedent’s property and provides an avenue for distribution of decedents assets.