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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.
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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.
Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today's Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. All rights reserved.


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.

Dictionary of Financial Terms. Copyright © 2008 Lightbulb Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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.

The Complete Real Estate Encyclopedia by Denise L. Evans, JD & O. William Evans, JD. Copyright © 2007 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
John Neukamm, chair of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, said the section agreed to help pay for in-person meetings of the probate work group because of the importance of the issue.
She said there are many steps remaining before e-filing is operational, first for probate and then for the entire court system.
There are already about 17 pilot e-filing projects around the state, including a longstanding one in Manatee County and the two probate programs in Broward and Pasco.
"From the lawyers' point of view, it means the lawyer who is filing the probate action can use the same software to file in Duval County or Miami-Dade County, or wherever in the state."
Main, a professor of history at the University of Colorado at Boulder, finds Bellesiles' claim that probate inventories were complete "incredible." She says the amazing difference between Bellesiles' low figure for gun ownership in Maryland, 7 percent, and hers, 76 percent, "boggles the mind." Gruber, a professor of history at Rice University, concludes Bellesiles worked "to minimize the importance of guns, militia, and war in early America" using "a consistently biased reading of sources" and "careless uses of evidence and context." Roth, a professor of history at Ohio State University, finds Bellesiles' homicide information is "misleading or wrong in every instance.
Closure of a sort came on October 25, 2002, with the report of three distinguished historians--Stanley Katz of Princeton University, Hanna Gray of the University of Chicago, and Laurel Thatcher Ulrich of Harvard--charged by Emory University to investigate Bellesiles' use of probate records and militia counts.
The panelists found evaluating the table in which Beliesiles charted his probate findings "an exercise in frustration because it is almost impossible to tell where Beliesiles got his information." They reported that "we had the same question as Gloria Main [in her William and Mary Quarterly article]: 'Did no editors or referees ever ask that he supply this basic information?'" They found "egregious misrepresentation" in the construction of that table and evidence of "falsification" in, among other flaws, Bellesiles' silent omission of the years 1774-76 "precisely because they failed to show low numbers of guns." Applying Emory University's guidelines, the committee concluded there were "other serious deviations 'from accepted practices in carrying out or reporting results from research."'
First, it was to investigate only the use of probate and militia records, despite evidence that he misused many other sources.
(45.) In Duval County, John Haddock's 1856 probate records show three-year rental income of $1,400 from fourteen slaves, and a $3,000 jump in slave evaluation.
(51.) Probate file 99 is incomplete, yet it contains hand-written notes of witnesses and officials.
(57.) For these rare manumissions see Duval County, Sophia Fleming, probate file 627 (June 26, 1848); Lewis Christopher, no.355 (1860); and Mariah Doggett, 1854, no.