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B. Involves 3 basic steps

B. The probate procedure involves three basic steps

1. Collection, inventory and appraisal of all assets that are subject to probate;

2. Payment of taxes and creditors;

3. Formal transfer of estate property according to the Will, or by the state laws of intestate succession, if there is no Will.

The surviving spouse and/or children are generally allowed a set-aside under state law, as discussed earlier, whether or not there is a Will. Generally, that comes “off the top” first. After that, the order of payment of claims against the estate is usually:

1. Costs/expenses of Administration (i.e., the lawyer gets paid first)

2. Funeral expenses

3. Debts and taxes

4. All other claims

What remains of the estate after these payments are made is available for distribution to heirs and beneficiaries.

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