Understanding Probate and Estate Administration as well as Guardianships and Conservatorships:
PROBATE or Estate Administration is an official court proceeding in which the estate of the decedent is divided according to a will, if one exists, but if not according to what are called intestate succession laws if no will exists. It can occasionally be a lengthy process and involves a lot of paperwork, time, and is not free. In addition, the documents filed in a probate proceeding are a matter of public record, so some may wish to avoid public availability and viewing of their financial situation.
GUARDIANSHIP & CONSERVATORSHIP is the legal proceeding in Probate Court where a person is appointed to exercise some or all of the legal rights of the incapacitated person. The “Guardian” is appointed over the Ward’s person/well-being, and the “Conservator” is appointed over the Ward’s finances and property – often, but not always the same person.
Once you've learned the basics you might consider attending a free workshop, or taking advantage of a free probate consultation.