What is the Probate Court?

The probate court is simply the court in charge of supervising the processes of authenticating that a decedent’s or deceased persons will is legitimate. Under the probate court a will and testimony can be enforced if necessary by probating the estate. If a will is authenticated by the probate court then the duties outlined in the will can be carried out without probating the estate. Under the probate court a will should appoint a personal representative, locate the decedent’s assets, determine date of death/death records, identify known creditors, publish public notice for collections, Pay bills, filing income tax returns, determine estate tax liability, and pay estate taxes or inheritance taxes.

When is Probating an Estate Necessary?

There are several circumstances that will make probating an estate necessary. The first if is there isn’t a final will and testament to determine how the estate should be disbursed. However, probating an estate can become a difficult and lengthy process which most attorneys and probate advisors generally try to avoid. If probating an estate is avoidable most legal professionals will find a legal loophole or dispute resolution agreement amongst the beneficiaries’ to resolve the matter legally without court interference.

Other instances that may require for a will to be probated include:

• Significant assets that are solely titled to the decedent- property, automobiles, boats, homes, etc.
• Assets that are owned collectively or owned by others in a collective a.k.a tenant in common.
• Beneficiaries that are predeceased at the time of the estate or other assets with no designated beneficiary.

In Probate, What Happens at the Reading of the Will?

The reading of a will is a rare event by today’s standards. However, the reading of a will may still occur as part of a ceremonial stipulation on the part of the decedents orders or may occur if all family members/ beneficiaries’ live within a close proximity to one another and are able to attend a meeting for the reading of the will. There is not a legal requirement for a reading of a will and the practice of the reading of the will used to be part of ceremony to inform beneficiaries’ that may not have been able to read or comprehend the language used to describe the disbursement amongst beneficiaries’. During a reading of a will the beneficiaries’ will be read the entirety of the will and each beneficiary will be verbally notified of their intended inheritance.