Going through the probate process is something that many people will have to deal with at some point in their lives. Most of the time, this can be a lengthy process and you need understand how it works. Here are the basic steps of the probate process.

1. Inventory

The first thing that will have to happen is a detailed inventory of all of the assets of the deceased. Many times, a deceased individual is going to have assets spread out over many different places and accounts. The executor is going to have to look at all of the assets and accounts of the deceased in order to determine how much they have. They will need to document all of the information about these assets as well.

2. Collection

The executor is then going to have to collect all of the assets as well. They may need to take the necessary steps to combine all of the assets into a single place. For example, sometimes it might be beneficial to open a checking account for the estate so that they can transfer all of the assets into that single account. The executor is going to need to take the necessary steps to have access to all of these various assets.

3. Appraisal

The next step of the process involves conducting an appraisal on various assets. For assets that cannot easily be converted into cash, they need to determine an accurate value for these assets. Most of the time, this applies to real estate that was owned by the deceased. A real estate appraiser will then be called in in order to determine the current market value of the property. This can also apply to other assets that could be valuable. If the deceased owned collectibles or antiques, an appraisal will have to be conducted in order to determine the value of these assets.

4. Paying the Bills

Before any of the assets can be distributed to beneficiaries, the bills have to be paid. If the estate has any outstanding debts, those are going to be paid immediately. The executor of the estate will utilize the assets of the deceased in order to pay any outstanding debts or bills that were owed. If the estate has a checking account, the executor will simply write checks for all of these payments. The executor is also going to handle filing and paying any taxes for the deceased. This part of the process might also involve paying for funeral costs or any other final expenses.

5. Formal Transfer of Estate

At this point, the rest of the estate is going to be transferred to the rightful beneficiaries. The court will make sure that all of the creditors have been paid and that there are no outstanding claims against any of the assets. When this is done, the assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries depending on how the will was structured.

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