What is it and what does it do?
Probate is the process that transfers legal title of property from the estate of the person who has died (the “decedent”) to his or her proper beneficiaries.
The term “probate” refers to a “proving” of the existence of a valid Will, or determining and “proving” who one’s legal heirs are if there is no Will. Since the deceased can’t take it with him, probate is the process used to determine who gets his or her property.
Even if a person dies with a Will (which is known as dying in “testate”), a court generally has to have an opportunity to allow others to object to the Will, and if there are any objections, to determine if the Will is valid, because it is always possible that one of the following seven items have occurred.
objections to a will
- There was a later Will (which, if valid, would replace the older Will), or
- The Will was made at a time the deceased was not mentally competent to make a Will, or
- The Will was the result of fraud, mistake or “undue influence” or
- The Will was not properly “executed”, or
- The so-called Will is actually a forgery, or
- For some other reason (such as a pre-existing contract) the Will is not fully valid, or
- There are other claims against the deceased’s estate that impact what the beneficiaries under the Will would receive
There are many reasons why going through probate is very undesirable.
Four of the most obvious are:
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This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice. Please consult with a professional specializing in these areas regarding the applicability of this information to your situation.