Glossary & Frequently Asked Questions
About Probate Issues
Click on any of the questions below for more detail regarding a specific issue or question.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be aware that the information on this page is delivered without warranty or guarantee of accuracy. It’s provided to help you learn more and formulate specific questions to discuss with your attorney and/or your Real Estate Professional and/or to help a personal representative, executor or executrix when executing their challenging responsibilities. By accessing this page, you acknowledge that it has been provided for information only and that you are hereby advised that any decisions regarding probate issues should be discussed with an attorney and/or a Real Estate Professional.
Glossary of Important Probate Terminology
- Probate Court
- Personal Representative (Executor / Executrix)
- Joint Tenancy With Rights of Survivorship
Probate Definitions And General Information
- What is probate?
- How does the probate process work?
- How long does probate usually take to complete?
- Why is probate actually required?
- How much does probate cost?
- If there is a really small estate, is probate still necessary?
- What goes on in the probate of an uncontested will?
- Where is probate handled?
- Can I handle probate without a lawyer?
Definition and Duties of the Personal Representative / Executor / Executrix
- Who is legally responsible for handling the probate process?
- Can there be more than one designated personal representative?
- Is it necessary for the personal representative to live in the decedent’s state?
- What are the main duties of a personal representative?
- If I am named as the personal representative, do I have to accept the job?
- Are personal representatives usually paid for their work?
- What happens if the personal representative fails to perform his or her duty?
- What if someone objects to the will?
- What is the basis for a will contest?
- How can a will be “contested”?
- How can I find out if there was a will?
- How can I avoid probate of my estate?
- What happens when the person who dies owned land in multiple states?
- Is it necessary for all of the decedent’s property to go through probate?
Payments and Taxes
- How are creditors against the estate handled?
- Do beneficiaries have to pay creditors out of their own pocket if the estate is insolvent?
- How are taxes handled in probate?
Provisions For Children / Survivors
- Are provisions for the care and guardianship of minor children usually provided for in a will?
- How does a “joint tenancy” affect a will?
- Are there any specific rules about how property can be disposed of?
Questions About Wills
- What are the actual requirements for a will to be valid?
- After a will is created, can it be modified?
- Should a will provide a separate list that details and bequeaths specific personal property?
- When should I make a will?
- What if there is no will?
- What happens if a person dies without leaving a will?
- What happens if a will cannot be found?
- Who can or should draft my will?