Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ] about Probate

If you're currently involved in the process of estate planning, you may have questions about probate. It is a term that gets tossed around a lot, but few outside the legal profession really understand what it means. This article will attempt to explain the basics.

What Is Probate?

Probate is basically a two-step process. The first part of the process is determining whether or not the deceased left behind a valid will. The second part of the process involves transferring the property of the deceased to the heirs named in his or her will. If there is no will, or if it is deemed invalid, the estate is said to be intestate (simply meaning "no will"), and any assets or property will need to be distributed according to the rules of intestacy that are applicable in the jurisdiction.

How Long Does Probate Take?

Another commonly asked question is how long does probate take Beaverton OR? It makes sense to specify a particular location when asking the question because the rules that govern probate vary by jurisdiction, meaning that the length of the process may also vary. In some states, the probate process may take only a matter of months, while in other states, it can take one to three years.

Are There Ways To Avoid Probate?

One way to shorten the length of the probate process is to put some of your assets in a trust. Property held in trust cannot be bequeathed in a will, so it is not subject to the probate process.

Some people wonder if they can avoid probate by just not making out a will. This will only work if you own no probate property. Probate property includes things like real estate and bank accounts. It is unlikely that you will be unable to dispose of all such property prior to your death, which means that you (or more accurately, your heirs) will not avoid probate if you don't have a will. In fact, without a will, the probate process will probably be more difficult for those you leave behind.

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Geek Upd8 - Law Reporter: Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ] about Probate
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