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About the probate process

Ohio residents with estate plans should have an understanding of probate. It is a legal process that can validate the last will and testament left by a decedent. If the deceased has no will, his or her estate will have to go through the probate process.

During probate, a decedent's assets are located and valued, and the final taxes and debts are paid. Once all the outstanding financial obligations have been settled, the remaining assets of the estate will be distributed to the appropriate beneficiaries or heirs as stipulated in the decedent's will or as determined by the court if there was no will left behind.

The state in which a person resides will determine exactly what is necessary to probate an estate as each state has its own specific probate codes. The laws will be referred to as intestate succession in situations where people have no wills when they die. Even if someone dies without a will, the estate will have to go through the probate process in order for the decedent's final bills to be paid and the assets of the estate to be distributed.

The typical probate process begins with the validation of the decedent's last will and testament. The judge will verify whether the will is the most current, valid version that was signed.

Once the will has been authenticated, the judge will assign a personal representative to supervise the probate process and straighten out the estate. In some cases, a will has been left by the decedent and specifies an executor, and that choice will typically be honored by the judge.

An attorney who practices estate planning law may assist clients through the probate process. A lawyer may engage in litigation to contest the contents of a will or challenge the distribution of an estate's assets.

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