The probate process will ensure that real estate goes where the deceased left instructions for it to go in his or her will. If the deceased left no will, the probate court will distribute real estate based on state law.
Probate is a process conducted by a state court to distribute your property after your death. Certain types of property avoid the probate process and get distributed directly to heirs, such as life insurance policies, certain bank accounts, gifts, trusts, and certain kinds of joint property ownership. All other property must pass probate to get to your loved ones. Many people plan their estates to avoid probate. While probate ensures that your property is distributed fairly among your loved ones, it is a costly and lengthy process that can delay your gifts to your family and friends.
Real Estate in Probate
If real estate ends up in probate, it will either be distributed to family members according to the will of the deceased or intestate distribution laws, or it will be sold to pay creditors of the estate, or it will be sold by court order to distribute value more efficiently among family members. Probate real estate is conveyed through an Order of Final Distribution or some other method selected by the probate court.
If You Die Without a Will
If you die without a will (intestate), probate will ensure your property is distributed fairly among your family members. Each state has laws of intestate distribution that prioritize family members in line to receive property from your estate. Of course, a will or a trust is the best vehicle for ensuring your property is distributed after your death according to your wishes.
If You Die With a Will
If you already have a will, the probate process will carry out your will precisely. You won’t have to worry about certain family members not receiving their property or taxes going unpaid. The court oversight in probate makes sure these tasks are completed per your wishes and according to the law. Probate also makes it easier for you to name guardians and conservators of your dependent children and adults.