Probate is the process by which a court determines how property transfers from a decedent to their heirs. Probate is therefore a court process, and is public in nature. It applies when a decedent left a will, but also when a person dies "intestate," or with no will or other instructions on how to distribute property. The costs of a probate are significant, especially for property owners. The gross estate is charged with the fees, not the net, so even if an estate has a zero net value, if it is large on a gross basis, it will incur large probate fees, usually in the multiple thousand dollar range.