The Probate Process
The probate process helps you transfer your estate in an orderly and supervised manner. Your estate must be dispersed in a certain manner (your debts and taxes paid before your beneficiaries receive their inheritance, for example). Think of the probate process as the "script" that guides the orderly transfer of your estate according to the rules. At the most basic levels, the probate process involves paying debts you owe and transferring assets to your beneficiaries.
A probate court decides the legal validity of a testator's will and grants it by granting probate to the executor. The probated will becomes a legal document which may be enforced by the executor, in the law-courts if necessary. Due to the fact that probate courts are state courts and not federal courts, the processes they follow may vary from one state to another. Yet despite their differences, these courts all pretty much follow the same basic processes and steps.
A state court called the probate court oversees the probate process. Swearing in your personal representative. Notifying heirs, creditors, and the public that you are, indeed, dead inventorying your property, and distributing your estate (including paying bills and any taxes)
In a general sense, probate assets are those you own alone, while you own non-probate assets jointly with others and to whom those assets will pass automatically upon your death. Non-probate assets also include assets that pass to a named beneficiary: a life insurance policy, for example. Because these non-probate assets pass to someone automatically, there is no need for probate.
Power Of Attorney:
A Power of Attorney is a legal record delegating power from one individual to another. The maker of the Power of Attorney grants the right to act on the maker's behalf. What power is granted depends on the specific words of the Power of Attorney. A person giving a Power of Attorney may make it extremely broad or may restrict it to certain detailed acts. A Power of Attorney may be used to give another the right to sell a car, home or other property. A Power of Attorney might be used to permit another to sign a contract, make health care decisions, manage financial transactions, or sign legal documents for the maker of the Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney could give others the right to do just about any legal act that the maker of the Power of Attorney may possibly do.