What is Probate?

Probate is a process that each state has to ensure that a decedent’s debts are paid and that their property is distributed the persons entitled to that property. When a person dies without a will, the laws of “Intestate Succession” control who is entitled to that person’s assets. When a person dies with a Will it is called a “Testate Estate” and the property will pass to the parties specified in a valid Last Will & Testament. Whether you die with a Will or without a Will, the estate may still have to go through a probate, unless certain exceptions apply. If a loved one has died, we, at Sullivan Estate Law, LLC, can help you figure out whether probate is necessary or if it can be avoided. If probate is necessary, our knowledgeable staff will guide you through every step of the process and give caring and compassionate advice and counseling. We strive to make the probate process as painless and inexpensive as possible.

If a loved one has passed away, you are under no obligation to go back to the attorney who drafted the estate plan, and can seek the services of any knowledgeable estate attorney. There are, however, certain time periods within which you must act. If there is a Will, it must be filed for probate within six months of the date of death. Even if there is not a Will, it is generally necessary to initiate probate on a timely basis, so that an administrator can be appointed to pay bills, resolve legal matters, and transfer title. Title does not automatically pass to the next of kin or beneficiaries under a Will; this can only be accomplished through the probate process.