July 8

What is Probate?


When a loved one dies, their estate will probably need to be probated.

Probate is the court-supervised legal process that:

  • validates your loved one’s will
  • appoints the executor or personal representative who will fulfill the terms of the will
  • moves property from the estate of the deceased to the next recipient, known as the heir or devisee.

The probate process can be:

  • informal, with very limited court involvement, or
  • formal, with hearings and additional court involvement.

There are two main subcategories of probate:


Testamentary probate occurs when the deceased had a valid will in place.

  • This is normally a simple process since the individual recorded their final desires and directives in their will.
  • The testamentary probate process can, however, become more complicated if
    • anyone contests the will, or
    • the court finds that the will is not valid


Intestate probate occurs when the deceased did not have a will.

  • Intestate probate can still be a relatively simple process if all living heirs are in agreement about what should happen with the estate of their loved one.
  • This process can become more complicated if heirs do not agree.

The Takeaway

Whether simple or complex, you will likely benefit from the help of an attorney in probating your loved one’s estate.

If your loved one was domiciled in Alaska or Montana when they died, you need an attorney who specializes in that state’s probate laws to help you understand your options.

There are also a few situations where probate may not be required, and you may be able to avoid the expense and delay of these proceedings entirely.

McQuillan & Hohman Law provides expert legal advice and assistance to those who must probate an estate in Alaska or Montana and to those seeking to avoid the probate process.

Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation



You may also like

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Want to Get Started With Your Dedicated Legal Team Now?