Probate is the legal process that transfers the legal title of property from the estate of the deceased to their beneficiaries.   During the probate process the executor of your will goes before the courts and identifies and catalogs all the property you owned, appraises the property, and 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, and there are some probate-avoidance plans in place.  Wills do not have to be probated unless you want to transfer ownership of assets owned by the person who wrote the will to his or her living beneficiaries.  If there are not assets left at the time of passing, there is no need to probate the will.