What is Probate?

Posted by Joseph Franks on March 25th, 2020

Probate is the legal procedure of collecting, establishing and distributing a person’s assets and estate after they have passed away. The probate at its essence is the handling of a person’s problems, such as paying off debts or bills and distributing the remaining possessions to heirs and beneficiaries.

Probate initiates with a court petition to open the proceedings and assign a person to execute the wishes and instructions of the deceased in accordance with California probate law. Interested parties will then receive official notices regarding the deceased person’s assets and any hearings to resolve the matter.

The notices will typically be sent to family members, heirs, and any third parties who the deceased may have owed money. After all the estate’s debts are paid, the remainder of the property and assets will be distributed to the proper heirs, while a petition to discharge is filed and the estate proceeding closed.

If a loved one has recently passed away and your family is forced to go through the probate procedure to settle their estate and distribute assets and belongings that were left behind, our Probate Attorney in Pflugerville, TX is here to help you through the process.

What Goes to Probate?

Any assets that are still in the deceased person’s name are required to pass through probate even if a will was left behind. Assets like bank accounts, other investments, homes, real estate property, vehicles or anything else with a title of ownership. Only a probate court can take a deceased person’s name off a title and transfer it to other person.

The properties that avoid probate are joint accounts that transfer to the surviving owner, assets with a valid beneficiary description and assets that were placed into a trust before a person’s death. For sure there are always exemptions to the rules and even those assets do not always avoid the probate procedure.

How To Avoid Probate

The best way to avoid probate is by forming a living trust and transferring ownership of all assets to the trust. The document allows for the simple transfer of property to beneficiaries once the primary owner passes away and it may be the strongest way to protect your possessions while living.

Unfortunately, if one of your family members or friends died without a living trust, a will is not enough to keep their assets out of court. However, there are still many ways in which an experienced attorney can speed up the probate process and make sure the deceased person’s final wishes and instructions are followed.


Joseph Franks

About the Author

Joseph Franks
Joined: September 16th, 2019
Articles Posted: 101

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