Probate 101: What it is and why you need it

Chances are you have seen at least one movie or a tv series where an elderly wealthy person dies, and the family is left with a valuable inheritance. People start arguing, fighting, and plotting against each other. While it looks spectacular and brings a lot of entertainment, it is far from what it is in real life.

When a beloved person dies, people are in mourning. They cry a lot, sleep very little, and reminisce about the dead one often. The last thing most of them will think about is their inheritance. Nevertheless, that is precisely what they have to face. You may have to understand what probate is.

The uncomfortable questions about the dead person’s belongings tend to appear unconsciously, unexpectedly, and they only accumulate over time. Who is in charge of the will? What if there is no will? How to avoid paperwork and legal processes?

After a relative’s death, most people will have to go through a probate process to clarify all the questions and doubts. Considering the circumstances, it is hated by many, yet it is indispensable and necessary.

Although you may not think so, understanding the probate procedure well will save you a lot of nerves in the challenging times of grief. Moreover, it will prevent you from getting caught by surprise or deceived by a greedy relative.

Here is everything you need to know about the probate – from what exactly it is to how to manage it best, and why people hate it. Once you go through all the information, you may stop worrying about the legal procedures in the least favorable times.

What is probate?

It is the first step in the legal process of administering, resolving, and distributing the deceased’s assets. Its aim is to prove that somebody’s last will is valid and genuine.

The procedure starts after somebody’s death and lasts until all their belongings are given to the right beneficiaries.

In most countries, the legal system determines what to do with the dead person’s properties and affairs.

How to handle probate best?

Turn to experts

There are at least ten steps that every probate will include. It starts with filling in the petition for probate, through letters of administration and tax-paying, and ends in the payout or inheritance. The process might not even be complicated. However, it might get prolonged and exhausting. It is best to turn to professionals when it comes to dealing with it.

Instead of waiting for years to get your inheritance, choose trustworthy law firms such as  Probate Advance or Probate Law Firm to guide and help you with all the paperwork and legal procedures. Getting a helping hand may save you a lot of nerves, worry, and if chosen reasonably, even money.

Educate yourself

There are various terms to know and understand when it comes to probate, and you might want to learn a little about it all. That way, you can be sure you will know what the executor is talking about when reading the last will.

Why the probate’s bad reputation?

If you have ever experienced the process or are going through it at the moment, you probably already know how much people complain about the probate. The reasons for probate being so problematic, thus tiring and despised by many people, are numerous. Here are some of them:

Lack of control

Once a person dies without an estate plan, the probate procedure starts. In such a case, you are at the mercy of the probate system within your state or country.

Lack of privacy

That downside refers to all the potential quarrels between family members. Family affairs and disagreements tend to be based on personal beliefs and individual stories. During the probate process, that kind of information is out in the open.

Lack of organization

With the probate process comes a lot of inability to decide when and how to distribute things.

The fees

If you are in the probate process, the court system will take its share for putting in the effort to test the testament’s credibility.


Some people may think that avoiding probate is smarter. It may be if you trust your relatives entirely and know what legal steps to take yourself.

However, most people choose the probate process because it is secured, credible, and incontestable. It leaves no place for discussion or argument.

No matter how unpleasant it can be at times, probate saves you a lot of additional worrying during the time of a terrible loss.

By Pola Koczoń