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Probate is the court process that determines whether your will is legally valid. The probate court is also where your estate is officially distributed to your creditors and the beneficiaries under your will. Depending on the value and complexity of your estate, the probate process can take several months, or it may be eligible for a simplified process. Sometimes, probate can get complicated – especially if there are several claims against the estate or if someone contests the validity of your will. While a lawyer is not needed to administer and execute the estate, oftentimes lawyers are used or at least consulted, particularly if problems develop.