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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 ?
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.
Scholars examining the only set of probate records Bellesiles specifically cited, those for Providence, Rhode Island, find that nearly everything he says about them is mistaken.
To support his contentions about the poor quality of guns, Bellesiles began posting on his Web site Vermont probate records listing guns described as old and broken.
Main, a professor of history at the University of Colorado at Boulder, finds Bellesiles' claim that probate inventories were complete "incredible.
Blakey, Parade of Memories: A History of Clay County (Orange Park, Florida, 1976) 37-38; Duval County Probate File for George Fleming, Jr.
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.
Probate file 99 is incomplete, yet it contains hand-written notes of witnesses and officials.
If it's a property the client's family wants to keep, make sure the estate plan addresses that in a way to minimize taxes and avoid probate.