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The probate process can impact an estate's value

The loss of your loved one is a difficult time. One of the things that might make it a bit harder is if you are having to go through the probate process to handle your loved one's estate. Of course, even having to go through the probate process is a lot easier than having to handle things if your loved one died intestate.

If you are facing this prospect right now, you should understand the purpose of probate and some of the specifics related to it so that you can make sure you are on top of things.

Two types of probate cases

There are two types of probate cases that can occur. One of these is the uncontested probate case, which means that nobody who is entitled to part of the estate has an issue with the way that the decedent wants things to be distributed or handled. These cases typically go much faster than the other type of probate case.

The other type of probate case is a contested one. These cases involve a person claiming that the will or the conditions of the estate aren't correct. These claims can be made for reasons such as claiming someone had undue influence on the decedent when that person was creating the estate plan. This process is sometimes associated with people who were disinherited.

Key points of probate

There are several things that happen during the probate process. It is usually guided by the person whom the decedent named as the executor or administrator of the estate. The probate process including filing the will with the court, finding assets, reviewing trusts, locating heirs and transferring property to the rightful parties.

There are some other facets as well. During the probate process, the decedent's bills are handled. If the estate is large enough, the bills are paid in full. If the estate isn't large enough to cover all of the bills, the bills are paid in a specific order that is in accordance with the law. Of course, bill payments do shrink the size of the estate, so heirs might not get what they expected.

If you are responsible for making sure the probate matters are handled appropriately, you might need to learn even more about the process. Seek out answers to questions that pertain to your case so that you have factual information on which to base decisions.

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