When a loved one passes away, there is often the need for his or her estate to go through a court-managed process called probate or estate administration, where the assets of the deceased are ultimately distributed to the proper heirs or devisees. If your loved one's assets were held by a well-drafted and properly funded living trust, it is possible that no court-managed administration is necessary, though a successor trustee may have special duties or distributions to attend. The length of time needed to complete the probate of an estate depends on the size and complexity of the estate and the local rules and schedule of the probate court.
Every probate estate is unique, but most involve the following steps:
Does probate administer all property of the deceased?
Probate is primarily a process through which title is transferred from the name of the Decedent to the names of the beneficiaries.
Certain types of assets are "non-probate assets" and do not go through probate. These include: