Probate is the court-supervised legal process that determines the validity of a Will (if there is one), gathers the decedent’s assets, pays his or her debts, taxes and the expenses of administration, and then distributes the remaining assets to those persons entitled to them according to the provisions of the Will.

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The main advantage of the probate process is that it is supervised. The court’s monitoring of the executor’s activities provides some assurance that the estate is properly administered by the executor. The probate court's procedures for handling Will challenges and claims from creditors provide a means for resolving disputes. Challenges and claims that are not timely filed during the specified notice period (or not raised at all) are barred. Challenges and claims that are raised are resolved. Thus, the beneficiaries have more assurance that they have received clear title to the property that is distributed to them.

Probate has gotten plenty of bad press for being time-consuming, frustrating, and costly. But times have changed, and the probate process in many states has become less distressing. Some states have short-form probate procedures that can streamline or modify the probate process if certain requirements are met. These requirements often focus on the size of the estate and to what extent most (or all) of the property will be distributed to a spouse.

Whether you’re looking to get your own estate in order, or manage someone else’s, Rocket Lawyer can help. Our online interviews make it easy to create personalized legal documents, and you can even Find a Lawyerif you need more help.

Get started Start Your Estate Planning Answer some questions. We’ll take care of the rest.

Get started Start Your Estate Planning Answer some questions. We’ll take care of the rest.