What is probate, and what does the process entail?

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2020 | Estate Planning And Administration |

Probate is a term – more specifically a legal process – that many people don’t fully understand until they confront it up close and personally. That is, probate’s details and particulars often don’t become clear for affected individuals and families until a loved one has died.

That signal event marks the juncture when probate becomes immediately relevant in most estate administration scenarios.

What does the probate process focus upon and aim to achieve?

In a word, clarity is what probate is centrally about. When a person dies, probate supervises the process of reaching finality regarding an estate. An executor either appointed by a decedent or by a probate court follows through on key matters under the court’s oversight. Those include locating a will, finding and safeguarding assets, contacting creditors, paying owed debts/taxes and additional matters.

Probate sometimes suffers a bad rap: Here’s why.

Candidly, the probate process in New York often frustrates heirs, loved ones and other interested parties. The reasons why can be many, including the challenges enumerated in the below bullet points:

  • Delay/dragged on time (probate routinely takes months to complete and even much longer than that for some complex estates)
  • Expenses (although not typically exorbitant, filing fees, court costs and other expenditures can add up)
  • Lack of privacy (much about probate is for the public record, which leads to the recommendation and primacy of estate tools like trusts in many instances)

We duly note at Pope Law Firm that many of the steps outlined above must be completed to finalize an estate in New York “regardless of whether or not an estate is probated.” Moreover, some estates must be probated.

Interested parties can reach out to our proven estate planning legal offices for further information.