What is "Probate"?

A "probate" is the court-supervised proceeding for administering a person's assets and debts following their death. During a probate, all of the decedent's debts (e.g., bills, credit cards, loans, taxes, etc.) will be paid or settled. A decedent's remaining assets are then formally transferred to any beneficiaries designated in a will or, if there is no will, to decedent's legal heirs by intestate succession (default laws that dictate who will receive the assets of a deceased person).