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The process by which a will is authenticated and carried out. That is, probate ensures that the will is in fact the decedent's final wishes and that everyone is receiving what they ought to receive. The executor of the estate usually handles probate, but his/her actions can be challenged in probate court. Some property, notably property co-owned with a spouse, is exempt from probate.


The proof that a will is valid and that its terms are being carried out. Probate is accomplished by an executor/executrix who is paid a fee based on the size of the estate that passes through the will. Certain trusts and jointly owned property pass to beneficiaries without being subject to probate and the attendant fee. See also nonprobate property.


Probate is the process of authenticating, or verifying, your will so that your executor can carry out the wishes you expressed in the document for settling your estate and appointing a guardian for your minor children.

While the probate process can run smoothly if everything is in order, it can also take a long time and cost a great deal of money if your will isn't legally acceptable or it's contested by potential beneficiaries who object to its terms.

If you die without a will, the same court that handles probate resolves what happens to your assets based on the laws of the state where you live through a process known as administration. The larger or more complex your estate is, the greater the potential for delay and expense.


To prove the validity of a will. Probate courts generally oversee decedents' estates, the payment of bills,and the distribution of assets.Some states have exemptions for small estates,which may avoid probate.Other states have no exemptions.Probate will need to be opened in every state in which a decedent owns assets,including real estate,unless there is a specific state exemption.

References in periodicals archive ?
Not because they hurt my feelings as an accountant, but because not having an estate plan or trust will cost their heirs a lot of money and time while waiting for the estate to go through probate.
But even if you own less than $2 million in assets, a separate issue is probate court.
Officials from the court system and clerks of courts have been meeting over the summer and said they have agreed the best place to start with e-filing is with probate courts.
With probate going first, it's the smallest division of the court.
One of the 40 counties from which Bellesiles said he drew data on gun ownership was San Francisco, where he claimed to have examined 1850s probates at the Superior Court.
Oddly, the reply refers to only 12 probates from San Francisco, in contrast to the "few hundred" he claimed to have examined when Seckora interviewed him.
These include the: (a) petitioner and their attorney, (b) probate judge, (c) physician or psychiatrist hired by the petitioner, (d) person who allegedly lacks the mental capacity for decision making (respondent), and (e) family member(s) of the respondent.
Receipts in his 1837 probate file record that Bella and Sally each paid $50 to complete payments, entitling them to freedom.
Probate records, however, are an uncertain source: These inventories don't mention bequests prior to death; families sometimes take items before the probate is taken; and some probates deal only with real estate, not personal property.
SIR - I wrote to the Probate Registry of Wales, following my mother's death, to ask them to send me a set of forms so I could obtain probate.