In short, probate and estate administration are the processes when a court-appointed person manages and distributes the property of a person who has passed ("the decedent"). Probate is the process when the decedent dies with a valid will, estate administration is the process when the decedent dies without a valid will (the legal term is dying "intestate"). When a decedent dies intestate, a statute determines how their assets will be distributed. Depending on the size of the estate, these processes can be time-consuming and expensive. These processes are avoidable with the proper planning. This allows loved ones to appropriately experience the bereavement period.