Probate is the process of finalizing and closing an estate. When you have an estate plan, the court will usually follow your guidelines for what you planned.
According to Athen-Clarke County Unified Government, the probate process of a will begins when you die.
Once you die, your executor, the person you named to handle your estate, will need to file your will with the court. This begins the probate process. The executor must file the will in the county in which you lived when you died. The executor must then ensure all heirs receive notice that probate has begun. The executor will also need to ensure to pay all fees for filing expenses.
Once the court begins working on probating the will, the judge will need to first verify the legitimacy. Heirs or beneficiaries may be able o contest a will, which means saying it is not valid. The judge may require witnesses and other evidence to determine the validity.
Once the court determines a will is valid, the judge will then allow for creditors to place requests for payment. The executor will have to pay all valid debts out of the estate funds. After paying debts, the executor can then disburse the assets as stated in the will. The court will close the estate once the executor finishes disbursing all the assets and completes all instructions.
Probate can involve various issues, such as someone contesting or trouble finding beneficiaries, which can lengthen how long the process takes. In general, though, a simple estate will move through probate rather quickly.