Probate

Probate is the court process in which a Personal Representative is appointed to handle your financial affairs after your death.  If you have anything other than a very small estate and die without a Trust, your estate will need to go through probate whether you had a will (testate) or nothing at all (intestate).  The Personal Representative will have the power to collect assets, open a bank account, communicate with creditors, make payments, sell inventory, and distribute the estate to beneficiaries.