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What is the purpose of probate?

Probate is a process during which certain debts of a decedent are settled. Property held in the decedent's name is also transferred to beneficiaries during this process.

Probate court has a few jobs that you should know about. It has to:

  • Prove the validity of a will
  • Total the assets in and out of the estate
  • Pay estate taxes and debts
  • Distribute assets to heirs or beneficiaries
  • Identify heirs and beneficiaries
  • Choose an estate administrator or representative

Probate starts when the decedent's representative files the petition with the court. That petition includes the person's death certificate. Probate will not end until the estate is formally closed by the court.

Most people want to do all they can to avoid having to go to court and through the probate process. Why? It's time-consuming and requires a waiting period that holds up the distribution of assets.

What should you do if you're appointed as the administrator of the estate?

If you are appointed as the administrator of the estate, then you have the responsibility of settling the estate. That includes distributing assets, paying creditors and filing a final tax return.

If you are not confident in this position, it is wise to talk to your attorney for assistance. You may be able to ask the court to appoint someone else to this role, or you may be able to work with your attorney to settle the estate quickly and with the support you need to know that you have done so correctly. With educated support, it's possible to resolve the estate yourself.

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Doughty Law Firm, LLC
6650 Rivers Ave
North Charleston, SC 29406

Phone: 843-501-9342
Fax: 843-576-5401
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