Frequently asked questions
Q. What happens to an estate when someone dies?
A. If there is not a will, the State Courts decide what to give heirs of the estate. Without a will, your intentions, such as leaving money to beneficiaries other than heirs (an university or a cancer research institute) may not be fulfilled.
Q. Why is probate necessary?
A. Probate provides a mechanism for payment of outstanding debts and taxes of the estate, for setting a deadline for creditors to file claims (thus foreclosing any old or unpaid creditors from haunting heirs or beneficiaries) and for the distribution of the remainder of the estate's property to ones' rightful heirs
Q. What is a personal representative?
A. The Personal Representative (sometime also referred to as the "executor" or "executrix" if there is a Will, or the "administrator" or "administratix" if there is no Will) is appointed as part of the probate proceeding and has the responsibility for managing the estate through the proceeding, subject to established probate rules and procedures.
Q. If there is no will, do I need to go through probate?
A. Yes. If a person dies without a Will (known as dying "intestate"), the probate court appoints a Personal Representative to receive claims against the estate, pay creditors, and distribute remaining property in accordance with the laws of the state.