Probate is the manner and method in which the estate of the deceased is processed through the legal system. The estate is defined as all belongings, assets, and debts. The function of probate is to settle debts owed and transfer remaining assets to beneficiaries.
All estates must go through probate regardless of the presence or absence of a will. The difference will be how the estate is dispersed. If there is a will, and it is deemed valid and binding, the estate will be distributed according to the deceased’s wishes. If there is not a will, or it is deemed invalid, the estate will be distributed according to the laws of the state.
One of the best ways you can help yourself is to not judge your grief. You are going to feel how you feel, and it will likely change from day to day. There is no need to cause yourself additional stress by admonishing yourself: Why do I feel just fine today? Shouldn’t I be unable to get out of bed? or I’m crushed, I can’t move, this isn’t normal. Something’s wrong with me. Everything that you go through, everything that you feel, is normal. Grief is hard enough without having judgment piled on top of it.
We all have behaviors that can keep us sane and happy. They are the rituals and activities that make you feel like you. Maybe it’s time spent on a mountain bike, in the garden, on a basketball court, in a museum, taking a weekend trip, attending an art or yoga class, bowling with friends, horseback riding, kayaking, building models, attending a film festival, going to a comedy club, being with friends and family, and so on.
Figure out what you need every day, every week, every month, and every year to keep you happy. Then be sure to do those things for yourself. This strategy can be used in the good times as well as the bad.
My good friend Rebecca summed up the grief experience in one sentence: “Everything about it pretty much blows.” Somehow I found relief in that statement. Yes, it was going to be an awful time. A weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I didn’t have to look for the silver lining or the life lesson. I didn’t have to be strong or put on a brave face. I could just be devastated.
Try to care for yourself as you would care for a child. Be kind to yourself. Be gentle. Eat healthy meals and get some exercise. Take walks. Spend time with people who love you. Do things that make you feel good: get a massage, play golf with a friend, watch a movie, read, go to the beach, go swimming, hike to a scenic overlook, listen to music, plant flowers, volunteer, tutor, and so on.
Be patient with yourself. Grief can be a long and arduous process, but eventually, you will recover and heal.