The probate estate can be used to describe an estate that is in probate. Probate law handles issues that deal with the administration of a will. Probate estates are those estates which have reached the point where the will can be administered.
In order for an estate to be administered, the will must first be held as legally valid by the surrogacy courts. Any challenge to the will generally occurs at this time. If the courts hold the will as legally valid, then the probate estate can be administered. The estate must first pay any creditors. In fact, no property may be collected from beneficiaries of the estate, until all debts have been settled.
Once all debts are settled, the estate may have to pay an estate tax, depending on the tax laws in that jurisdiction. The estate, depending on the value, will also likely be responsible for a federal estate tax, which is different than an inheritance tax. The inheritance tax will be paid by the beneficiaries, on the value of the property they inherited.
In addition to taxes, there are other legal issues which apply to the estate. For example, individuals may jointly inherit property. If those individuals do not wish to own that property jointly, they may auction off or sell that property and then distribute the proceeds between the two. The inheritance tax however, will apply to the value of the property on the day the benefactor died, rather than the amount it sold for. If you need legal advice and assistance, contact probate lawyers.