What is Probate?

Probate is a court proceeding in which:

  • the decedent's property is inventoried and valued;
  • the decedent's debts are paid;
  • the decedent's estate taxes are paid; and
  • the decedent's property is distributed to his or her heirs.

Property is subject to probate administration. Joint and survivorship accounts, payable on death (POD) accounts, transfer on death (TOD) assets, life insurance which names a beneficiary other than the estate and trust property do not pass through probate. (These properties, however, are subject to estate taxation.