Your will is a legal document that outlines how to distribute your assets after your death. If you die without a will, the court may decide how to allocate your belongings instead of abiding by your personal wishes.

Your estate will undergo probate after you die, which, according to the American Bar Association, is a court-supervised legal procedure that establishes your will’s validity. It is important to understand the basics of probate and to know which information about this process is a myth or actually true.

1. The probate process takes several years

For most estates, the probate process does not require years to resolve. Usually, the only delay happens when creditors receive time to file claims against the estate. Your executor can close your estate as soon as he or she pays all the debts and taxes and gathers all your assets for distribution.

2. The state gets everything if there is no will

If you die and do not have a will, state law will determine who receives the items in your estate. For most estates, the surviving spouse and any children will receive the proceeds from the estate first.

3. The oldest child is always the estate’s executor

Sibling hierarchy does not play a role when it comes to entitlement to become an executor. If you name a certain person as the executor in your will, the court will choose that person unless a disability, a felony conviction or another situation would make it hard to complete the job.