The probate system is mystifying to some people until they have to deal with it after a loved one dies. Some people get confused about what is going on. They might think that they can just grab their loved one's assets and move on with life. This isn't the way that it works.
When you are going through the probate process, the estate will need an administrator. This person has a big job to do. The administrator has to find the estate's assets and the heirs to the estate. The job doesn't stop there. This individual also has to pay bills for the estate, but these must be handled in accordance with the law.
The bills that the estate has to pay are set on a priority schedule. This means the debts are paid in this order. First is the cost and the expenses of administration. Next are the funeral expenses. Debts and taxes come next. Finally, all other claims are paid.
It is interesting to note that the administrator doesn't have to just pay all bills that are presented to the estate. Instead, he or she has to review the documentation about the bills and then decide if the debt is valid or not. Debts that aren't valid will be rejected. Ones that are valid will be paid as long as the estate can cover them.
Questions will often come up during the estate-administration process. Estate administrators should make sure that they handle all disputes in a suitable manner. This includes those that are launched by the family members of the person who passed away.
Source: New York Life, "How the probate system works.," accessed March 21, 2018