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Mobile and Baldwin County Probate Attorney

In Alabama, there are three (3) different procedures for administering a Decedent's estate:

  1. Probate of Will (Testate)

  2. Probate without Will (Intestate)

  3. Summary Distribution

What happen to a deceased person's property upon passing away?

The first thing to do is to determine whether the deceased had a Will when they passed away. If so, a petition has to be made in county probate court accompanied by the original copy of the will. This has to be done within five (5) years of the death of the deceased or else the Will will not be admitted.


If the Decedent did NOT have a will, a petition is still required to be filed in county probate court. In this type of estate administration, the decedent's property will be divided among their "heirs at law" in accordance with the Alabama Rules of Intestate Procedure. This process is generally more time consuming than a probate process involving a Will. 

What are the steps in the probate administration process?

  1. Filing of probate petition 

  2. Posting of bond set and approved by Probate Judge

  3. Grant of Letters of Administration/Appointment of Personal Representative

  4. Giving notice of appointment by publication and US mail

  5. Providing notice to Alabama Medicaid Agency

  6. Obtaining EIN number for estate

  7. Identifying and collecting all assets belonging to estate and open estate bank account

  8. Filing of Inventory within 60 days of appointment

  9. Commencement of 6 month claims period for creditors

  10. Dealing with creditor claims

  11. Paying obligations belonging to estate

  12. Distributing remaining assets to beneficiaries

  13. Discharge of Personal Representative

  14. Closing of probate estate

How long is the probate process in Alabama?

Anywhere between nine (9) months to several years.

Do I have to go through Probate Alabama?

Probate is almost always necessary if you find yourself in any of the following common scenarios:

  • The Decedent died with a valid last will and testament and you want to ensure the will is given legal effect. Otherwise, the will is not legally binding. 

  • The Decedent died without a last will and testament and the Decedent's heirs can not agree on dividing the property among themselves.

  • The Decedent died owning property with no beneficiary designation, and due to the nature of the particular property, the only way for Decedent's heirs to receive title is through a judicial determination.

  • The Decedent's heirs wish to sell the property they stand to inherit ASAP. Probating the estate shortens the creditors' claim period from two years to six months. As a result, heirs can begin the process of selling assets in six months instead of having to wait two years. 

*Under some circumstances it is possible for real property to be transferred to heirs by drafting a new deed along with heirship affidavits, without the need to open a probate estate.

Why should I hire a probate lawyer?

Many times, probate is the only way that an heir can receive title to inherited property that was not automatically transferred upon the death of the deceased.

Administrating a probate estate is a lengthy and time consuming process that requires not only expertise in Title 43 of Alabama' Probate Code, but also a degree of significant experience in the probate courtroom.

Contact our firm, Brennan R. Clifton, Attorney at Law, for an experienced and knowledgable attorney to represent you in your probate case.

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