What's The Truth About Probate?
Published Wednesday, December 31, 1969 at: 2:00 PM EST
Have you heard horror stories from families that had to suffer through costly, protracted probate proceedings after a relative dies? The possibility is very real, especially if a will is contested. Yet while it might turn into a nightmare, sometimes probate works like a dream. Before you take drastic steps to avoid probate, it's important to know what it's likely to involve.
The first thing to know is that laws concerning probate vary from state to state. In some states, the process may be quick, while in others it's likely to take a while.
Probate is the court-supervised process of distributing the assets of someone who has died, according to that person's will. Even when there's no will, however, assets usually still have to go through probate. Among the exceptions are life insurance proceeds, which normally can go to designated beneficiaries without passing through probate.
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