A person’s death sets off a chain reaction of events in response. One of these is a court process known as probate.
Probate is a standard process, the purpose of which is to ensure that a deceased’s property goes to those who have a right to it. Absent prior experience or first-hand knowledge, the entire thing may seem intimidating. Get some fundamental insight into probate for whenever it becomes relevant.
Who takes care of a will in court?
An estate should name a personal representative as the person who leads the charge and takes control of making sure the property and assets go where they should. Washington empowers the personal representative to do all the essential tasks, including:
- Publish a notice announcing probate has begun
- Make payments and sell property to pay debts
- Notify anyone mentioned in the will
- Dispense the remaining property to heirs
Probate may take time, especially if it is sizeable and the deceased carried debt undisclosed previously.
What does the judge do?
The judge oversees the personal representative and assists when needed. For instance, if a creditor attempts to file a claim on the estate but the personal representative disputes it, the judge may step in and conduct a hearing to determine the legitimacy of the claim. This may also occur with possible heirs who claim to have an interest in the deceased’s estate. Probate challenges may necessitate a lengthier process as those filing a claim need to prove the legitimacy of the action.
Probate has a bad reputation, but it is a necessary process that helps protect a person’s property after death.