The Probate section of FindLaw’s Estate Planning Center provides an overview of the legal process in which property is transferred after a person’s death — a process known as “probate” — and legal issues related to the collection, management, and distribution of an estate.
Probate is a court-supervised process designed to sort out the transfer of a person’s property after they have died. Some property passes automatically to another party upon death. Certain trusts, life insurance policies, and “Totten Trusts” (also called “payable-on-death” accounts) are capable of avoiding probate by making transferring ownership to the beneficiary before death, or automatically upon the creator’s death. Other property that is subject to probate will be examined by the court and granted to the appropriate party.