Probate is the legal process that transfers the legal title of property from the estate of the deceased to his or her beneficiaries.   During the probate process, the executor of your will appears before the court, identifies and catalogs all the property you owned, appraises the property,  pays all debts and taxes, proves that the will is valid and legal, and distributes the property according to the instructions of the will.  Probate can be a long, drawn-out legal process, so you may wish to consider a probate-avoidance plan.  Speak with your attorney for advice on how to avoid probate in your area.