What is Probate?

The word probate means “of proof” and more particularly “proof of Wills.”

The probate process is the set of rules and laws that govern how the Court will appoint someone to take control of the property owned by someone who has died.¬† Lawyers call the person who has died the “Decedent.”

The person who is appointed by the Court¬† to take control of a Decedent’s property is known by many labels, including Personal Representative, Executor, and Administrator.

In addition to picking who will take control of the Decedent’s property, the Court will also determine whether or not a person died with a validly signed Will.

If a person dies with a will, the person dies “testate,” and the Will will determine who receives the Decedent’s property at the end of the probate process.

If a person dies without a will, the person dies “intestate,” and state law will determine who receives the Decedent’s property at the end of the probate process.


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