Probate is a legal process through which the assets of a deceased person are properly distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries. The Court oversees the estate to make sure debts are paid and proper distribution is made. Probate is needed when a court order is required to transfer ownership or to distribute the assets of the estate. Probate is not needed if all assets were jointly held and one of the joint holders is the survivor. Probate matters include:
- Wills (not filed until the death of the party).
- Estates (when there are assets to be distributed).
Proceedings in Probate
- Formal Administration is used when there are considerable assets or other special circumstances. There will be a personal representative appointed and letters of administration will be issued so that he or she may complete the administration of the estate.
- Summary Administration may be filed when the value of the entire estate does not exceed $75,000.
- Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration is filed to request release of assets to the person who paid the final expenses, such as funeral bills or medical bills for the last 60 days. The form required to file this proceeding is available in the Clerk's Probate Division. You may qualify for this procedure if you meet all three of the following criteria:
- The value of the assets is less than $6,000;
- You paid the final expenses, such as funeral bills or medical bills for the last 60 days; and
- These expenses are close to the value of the assets.
Frequently Asked Questions