After you die, your estate will go through probate. This is the legal process of administering your estate as well as proving that your will (if you have one) is valid. This process also involves executing the instructions in your will and paying any applicable taxes.
If you are like many people, you may not fully understand the probate process. You may have also heard several myths about probate that lead to further confusion.
1. The state gets everything if you do not have a will
According to a survey conducted by Caring.com, nearly 6 out of 10 Americans do not have a will, and you may be one of them. But even if you do not have a will when you die, the state will not get all the assets in your estate. Instead, state laws will dictate how to divide your estate instead of your personal instructions.
2. The probate process takes years
In most cases, the probate process lasts several months up to a year. However, the probate process can take several years in the event of family fights or if your estate is very large.
3. The oldest child is always the executor
If you are the oldest sibling, you do not necessarily retain the right to become the executor to your deceased parent’s estate. If a will does not exist, the court will appoint someone to act as executor, but if there is a will, the person named as executor in that document will fill this position.