Probate consists of the post death administration of a decedent's estate under the jurisdiction of the probate court system.  An estate is "testate" if there is a valid will which is submitted for probate.  If there is no will, the estate is "intestate" and the property will be distributed to the heirs of the decedent in a manner described by the laws of the state where the decedent resided at his or her death.

An "ancillary probate" may be necessary if the decedent owned real estate in a state in which he or she did not live.

Often, a full probate is not necessary if the value of an estate is relatively small.  The levels for a  "claiming successor's affidavit" in Oregon as of January 1, 2010 is up to $200,000.00 of real property and up to %75,000.00 in all other types of property, including bank accounts and investment funds.