What is probate? What is estate administration?

These terms often are used interchangeably. Technically, probate is the court process of proving the validity of and then overseeing that the instructions provided in the wills are followed properly and the estate is correctly administered.  When there is no will, the process is simply referred to as estate administration.
The tasks to be completed during the probate process can vary depending upon the circumstances, but generally they involve:

  • Filing a petition with the probate court
  • Providing proper notice to the heirs named under the will (or by statute if the deceased died without a will)
  • Petition the probate court to be appointed as executor or administrator
  • File an inventory of the estates assets
  • Pay legitimate debts of the estate
  • Filing and payment of estate taxes, if applicable
  • If needed, sale of some or all estate assets
  • Final accounting to the court and distribution of remaining assets to the heirs