Probate is a court supervised process wherein the executor or personal representative appointed under a decedent’s last will and testament proves the validity of the will and distributes the estate under the terms of the will. Depending on the size of the decedent’s estate, probate may extend for a long time—generally no less than 6 months and in some cases, depending on the complexity of the estate, may take a year or more to complete. In addition, the executor or personal representative is tasked with paying debts and deciding whether or not to sell real property, securities, or other property. If there is no will, a court-appointed administrator distributes the decedent’s estate in accordance with a state’s law of intestate succession.

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Reference: Probate