When a loved one leaves behind an estate that should be designated to their next of kin, it begins a legal process known as probate. Probate is what the court uses as a term to describe the legal process of working through a will and settling estate affairs. However, there are actually two types of probate: administrative and judicial. While both types of probate focus on doing the same thing, both administrative and judicial probate have different processes and may include different things. Here is a look at some of the primary differences between judicial and administrative probate.
Administrative probate is a more straightforward legal process.
An administrative probate is basically a probate that takes place when there is no dispute against the will and a will that perfectly outlines what will happen with the estate. While administrative probate still takes place in court in most states, there are basic functions that are fairly straightforward, including:
- the delegation of properties left behind
- the reading of the will
- the assessment of any due debts against the estate
Once the will has been read and due process has concluded with all things regarding the estate, the probate can be closed.
Judicial probate can involve more complicated matters.
A judicial probate tends to take place only when there are no clear-cut designations in the will, if there is no will at all, or if there is a will but it is being contested. The judicial probate process will be much more in-depth and may involve everything from evidence pertaining to logical heirs to witness testimony. While the goal of a judicial probate is the same, (to properly designate and assign the estate), this process can take a lot longer to complete.
Both administrative and judicial probate should involve an attorney.
If you are going to be part of the probate process because you either are an heir or you should be an heir, it is best to contact a family attorney for guidance through the process. Your chosen attorney will help you wade through the complicated parts of the probate process and give advice when there are terms and legal situations you do not understand. A lot of people do choose not to hire an attorney for an administrative probate, but it is never a good idea to avoid hiring an attorney during a judicial probate because there can be so many complicated legal situations involved.
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