Marin Humane Society

When a Loved One Passes Away

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5 ] What is probate? Probate, if required, is the formal administrative process by which your loved one's property and assets are distributed to beneficiaries. Most probates involve the following steps: • Filing a petition (and original will, if available) with the proper court • Appointment of executor, personal representative or administrator • Notice to heirs • Inventory and appraisal of estate assets • Payment of debts and taxes • Distribution of assets to beneficiaries 6 ] What is the role of the executor, personal representative or administrator? The executor or personal representative named in the will is in charge of the probate process and provides an orderly method for administering the estate. If there is no will, an administrator is appointed by the probate court to oversee the process. 7 ] Where will the estate be administered? The estate—or probate, if required—will be administered in the county where your loved one resided. If your loved one owned property in another state, a separate proceeding may be required. 8 ] How do I know if I am a beneficiary under the will or living trust? If you are a beneficiary under a will, the law requires the executor or personal representative to give you notice when the will has been filed with the court. It then becomes a matter of public record. You can contact the courthouse and request a copy of the will. If you are a beneficiary under a living trust, the law requires the trustee to give you notice. A living trust is not a matter of public record and can provide total privacy. 9 ] Are all assets subject to administration? Probate assets titled in your loved one's individual name may require administration. Property titled as joint Losing a loved one is one of life's most difficult experiences. We hope this resource makes settling the estate a little less stressful during this emotional time.

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