Probate is the process through which the Court either administers a will or distributes the property of someone who has died intestate (without a will). After an individual passes away, there is a series of steps that must be followed before any monetary or property distributions within a will may be made. The earliest an estate may be closed and all distributions made is approximately six months and 10 days after the date of first publication, although the probate process often takes significantly longer. You should be prepared for this process to take a minimum of one year.
The probate of a will requires specific steps taken according to the specific statutory timeline. These steps include applying admitting the will to probate, delivering the will to the court, applying for letters testamentary, notice to creditors, inventory and appraise assets, payment of any debts, claims, taxes, and expenses, the preparation of a settlement showing all income and disbursements made within the probate estate, and finally, obtaining court approval for distribution and close estate.