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Rosanne S. Horan, Attorney at Law
COMPASS LAW GROUP, LLC
a Missouri Limited Liability Company
.
10260 Manchester Road, Kirkwood, MO 63122
Phone 314-965-6898 ♦ Fax 314-965-5464 ♦ email fixmytix@sbcglobal.net

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PROBATE
Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person by resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person's property under the valid will, if there is one. The probate court decides the validity of a testator's will. A probate judge interprets the will, or in the absence of a will, applies Missouri statutes to the deceased's estate.  The probate process thereby determines who will act as personal representative of the estate and adjudicates the interests of heirs and other parties who may have claims against the estate.

STEPS OF PROBATE
Some of the decedent's property may never enter probate because it passes to another person contractually.  A few examples of this type oef transfer are the death benefit of a life insurance policy insuring the decedent or bank account that carries a "payable on death" designation, and other property held as "jointly owned with right of survivorship".  Property held in a living trust also avoids probate.

After opening the probate case with the court, the personal representative inventories and collects the decedent's property. Next, he pays any debts and taxes. Finally, he distributes the remaining property to the beneficiaries, either as instructed in the will, or under the intestacy laws of the state.

Third parties may challenge the probate.  The personal representative's actions are governed by statute and supervised by the probate court.   

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