What is Probate?
“Probate” is the legal process
What is probate and where did it come from?
that deals with the assets and debts left behind after someone dies. Probate court
is where probate is administered. The Probate
adjudicates the validity of wills, enforces the provisions within a valid will (by issuing the grant of probate), makes sure creditors are notified and paid, provides for the equitable distribution of the assets of persons who die intestate (without a valid will), and prevents executors and administrators of estates from being dishonest and ensures they are doing their job.
The term “probate”
can be used to describe the legal process
, or the court
where the process takes place, or the distribution of assets. The probate process
can include all aspects of estate administration, such as:
- Proving the validity of a will, if one exists, to make sure it is real.
- Choosing an estate administrator, executor, or representative, if one has not been named by the deceased.
- Totaling all assets both in and out of the estate, in order to:
- Paying all applicable estate taxes and other debts.
- Identifying all heirs and other relatives that the deceased may or may not have mentioned in a will.
- Distributing any remaining assets to the heirs as described in the will or intestacy statutes. (whatever the judge says to do if there’s no will.)
Probate has been around for centuries- (and obviously a long history of stressing people out.)
Believe it or not, the issue of people passing away and the ensuing turmoil of family, church and government figuring out who gets what has been around a while.
The laws and jurisdictions of Probate: Feudalism, Church vs. state, a long cloudy history of who gets to be in charge of settling the deceased’s accounts and dividing his worldly possessions (encompassing paying the bills transferring of property) has evolved for a nearly a thousand years. Starting with William the Conqueror and The Norman Conquest, in 1066 and the next several decades, (when he basically stole all the land owned by the uncooperative for himself and gave it away to his buddies). through this evolution, Local Governments have gradually taken charge of the settling the business of the deceased.
The History of the Probate Court