Definition - What does Probate mean?
Probate is a legal process that is performed by an executor of a will. If there is no executor, then the probate judge will appoint someone to handle the estate. The probate court will review the decisions made by the estate administrator. The act of reviewing the will and performing the actions listed within is called probate. The length of time probate takes is dependent upon the complexity of the will (if there is one) and the size of the estate. Whether or not there are any disputes or contentions will also affect the length of time probating the matter will take. There have been probates that take over 10 years to complete and some that take 10 days.
Justipedia explains Probate
Terms of probate are basically the same from one state to the next, but the timeframes can differ. If a person who has a will, it is usually followed provided that the will conforms with state requirements. However, if a person dies without a will (intestate) the probate process will be determined by the court. If there are assets and if there is a living spouse, then the assets of a person without a will is passed to the surviving spouse.