Probate is the process by which the assets of a deceased person are transferred to his/her beneficiaries.
The process will differ depending on whether the person dies with a will ("Testate") or without a will ("Intestate").
If a person dies without a will, the estate is distributed to beneficiaries in accordance with the distribution plan established by state law. The probate court appoints a person to receive all claims against the estate, pay creditors and then distribute all remaining property.
If a person dies with a will, the estate is distributed in accordance with the instructions provided by the decedent in the will. The probate court determines if the will is valid, evaluates objections or challenges to the will, orders payment to creditors and supervises the process to assure that property remaining is distributed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the will.
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