DC Probate Administration: An Introduction

What is Probate?

The first few months after a loved one, family member or friend passes away can often be bewildering and confusing for those who are left behind. Besides the emotional aspect of the death, many practical questions arise at this time, such as who pays for the funeral expenses, what happens to the decedent’s assets and who handles any of the legal matters that invariably occur at this time. Many of the answers to these and other questions work themselves out through the process most commonly known as probate or estate administration.

At its simplest, the probate process is the legal process that takes place after someone’s death. During the process, the decedent’s assets are located, his/her debts paid, and his/her remaining property distributed to its new owners. This process takes a minimum of eight months, but typically lasts for a year or longer. The person who is in charge of handling these issues is called the personal representative. The articles in this series are intended to assist a personal representative of a decedent’s estate (i.e., the decedent’s assets) subject to probate in the District of Columbia Superior Court. Continue reading “DC Probate Administration: An Introduction”