Probating an estate concerns the exact method by which an estate is overseen and managed as it makes its way through the legal system after a person dies. Probating an estate entails the steps taken to transfer the estate of the deceased to another party in a highly systematized manner. Every estate must be disseminated according to a tried and true methodology. For example, old debts and outstanding taxes must be paid prior to beneficiaries being allowed to accept their inheritance. Probating an estate is a scripted process facilitating the careful transmittal of an estate from the deceased to those he has named in his will.
Probating an estate is compromised of many important steps including sale of inherited real estate, managing an inheritance loan, dispersing a fiduciary loan, and operating according to the wishes of the deceased owner. Probating an estate will be different for those who have a valid will than for those whose will is invalid. If a person were to die prior to drafting a will, or if upon the death of a person only parts of his estate are protected by a valid will, local law will dictate who is entitled to which aspects of the estate.
In certain states, the law requires that a personal representative of the deceased must publish a death notice in the local paper. This death notice publicizes that the estate of the deceased is in probate. Thus, those people believing that they share a vested interest in the estate are enabled to file a claim against the estate of the deceased if they so choose, as long as they do so within a specified time period. This death notice is an essential aspect of probating an estate because it makes what is happening to the estate of the deceased person a matter of public record.