What Is a Probate and How Does It Work?

Death is one of the two things sure to happen in this world. Some foster the idea that only change, and death remain constant. You cannot do anything about change, but you can do something about the things you leave behind after your passing.

Planning for the future includes your plans on how your properties, children, and other interests will be managed after you pass away. Some individuals have their estates planned ahead. It’s to ensure that their passing and the passage of their belongings and other ownership to their heirs and other beneficiaries will run smoothly. You can always ask your lawyer when and how to make a sound estate plan.

Some say that a person’s legal personality and capacities extinguish at the time of their demise. That’s why lawmakers worldwide made laws to protect individuals; interests and properties after passing. The laws on succession or inheritance law provide for the steps and mandates in making a will, its forms, and rules. The will is the embodiment of a person’s wishes on how their possessions will be managed, distributed, and cared for by the time they’re no longer there to operate it themselves.

What Is Probate?

Probate is a court action that declares a person death, that the person who died left a valid will, and that there’s an executor authorised to finally organise the estate left by the deceased. In some jurisdictions, the probate proceeding will declare the authenticity of a will presented by the heirs or assigns of the deceased. It’s a proceeding where judges determine the person’s plans regarding his properties or estate after their demise.

In some instances, probate is unnecessary until asset holders or other institutions request that executors present evidence of their legal power to deal with the estate of a deceased person. In these cases, the executors are obliged to file a probate application.

It’s also unnecessary to go through the probate process to sell or transfer certain assets and personal goods of the departed. If the deceased left a will, the person designated as the executor of its provisions is the one who is responsible for managing the assets of the estate. Without a valid will, the nearest relative by blood is usually appointed as administrator for the whole estate.

How Does Probate Work?

The processes to probate a will differ in many jurisdictions. Some states allow anyone possessing a will to submit the same to the court for probate. But some jurisdictions only accept executors to file for the probate of a will.

It’s customary that the executor named in the will submits the same to the court and files an application for probate. The court then will require the presentation of documents such as proof of heirship and property documents to determine inheritance rights and the accounts of ownership of the deceased.

Probate filings court document estate planning legal proceedings

In many states, subjecting the will to probate will resolve many issues surrounding its existence.

Some Issues Resolved in Probate Proceedings

  • Determination Of a Person’s Death

It resolves issues such as the time of death. It’s the time of a person’s death that commences succession, or the right of the heirs to inherit.

  • Declaration Of the Will’s Validity

There may be issues contesting the validity of the will presented for probate. It’s the court who will declare whether it’s valid or not. If the will presented is invalid, the court may demand that the original will be submitted for probate.

  • Establish The Testator’s Wishes

The person making the will may have many declarations in the will that confuse the heirs as to their share and what they must do. The court will read through the declarant’s statements and declare all issues that may be resolved in the probate proceedings.

  • Whether Or Not the Executor Has the Authority

The court will determine whether or not the executor named in the will has the authority to apply for the grant of probate. Facts like illegal acts by the named executor can strip them of their integrity and capacity to execute the will’s provisions. In some cases, fraud in obtaining the will also extinguishes an executor’s power to manage the estate.

There are still many issues that may be resolved in a probate proceeding before the court grants probate. But once the court grants probate of a will, it’s considered final and executory.

Bottom Line

Probate usually ends any dispute regarding inheritance issues for individuals who carefully planned and made a will to manage their interests after their passing. Some still contest the proceeding, but the law has to intervene and end estate squabbles among discontented heirs. A grant of probate ends all controversies regarding the will.

You can plan your estate in advance to avoid potential heir conflicts. Moreover, there’s a lot of added information about probate in the links provided in this content. Feel free to take the time to check them all out.

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