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What You Need To Know About Probate And Wills
Have you ever heard the phrase, "to probate a will?" Here's what it is. . .

Jasper L. Edwards

 

Have you ever heard the phrase, "to probate a will?" It sounds complicated, and it is, but probating a will is an easy to understand concept.

What Probate Is

When a will is probated, it is proved, or validated, to be the authentic last will and testament of the person who died. A court of law approves the will and confirms the authority of the person who is named in the will as the executor. The executor is the person who makes sure that the wishes of the deceased are carried out according to the will.

In Probate, the will is approved by the court, and the executor receives documents called "Letters probate" that tell the world that the executor is authorized to act on behalf of the deceased under the authority of the will in probate.

Suppose, for example, that a person who owned a house died, and her will directed that her executor sell her house and divide the proceeds of sale in equal shares among her adult children. The executor of the will, in order to carry out the wishes of the deceased, would have to list the property for sale with a real estate agent. The executor might have to pay for any repairs necessary to maximize the value of the house, and the executor would be required to pay the mortgage, taxes, and insurance on the house from estate funds until the house was sold.

Letter probates empower the executor to sell property and allocate funds that are not his or her own property. With Letters probate, bank clerks and realtors can deal in confidence with the executor, knowing that they have the full authority of the court behind them.

Is It Necessary To Probate A Will?

Only a lawyer who is familiar with the estate laws in the state where the deceased lived at the time of their death can tell a client whether it is necessary to probate the will. Probate is an expensive process. Probating a will can cost the estate money for attorney's fees and court costs, reducing the amount of money that goes to the heirs of the deceased.

There may be some circumstances when it is not necessary to go through the probate process. Some of the factors that go into deciding whether or not you need probate include the nature of the assets, the nature of the beneficiaries, and how well the will describes how the deceased wanted their property allocated among the beneficiaries.

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