There are certain steps involved in the process of Probate of Wills. When a person dies, their will is read to confirm that they intended the final wishes made. If you have already chosen an executor or have a living trust there are specific steps for the next step. If you choose not to use an executor or have a living trust the process of Probate of Wills begins. The person or entity who had been named as the executor in the last will and testament is then listed on the Probate Court’s Probate Registry list and can be contacted by the court to arrange scheduling for a meeting or legal proceedings.
Once the testator’s schedule has been met the last will and testament is prepared. This includes recording all necessary documents such as deeds, mortgages and title insurance policies. It also includes a completed inventory of the personal property owned and the amount owed to each creditor. Most Probate Court registrars require a self-proved Will be filed. A self-proved Will is one in which the testator personally declares the terms of the estate as opposed to relying on the agent’s advice. Many people have difficulty completing a self-proved Will because of their fear of unwittingly agreeing to terms that will adversely affect their heirs.
Self-proved wills differ slightly from Probate of Wills in that they do not require a legal agent. These wills can be filled out by anyone who is properly qualified under the law to execute such documents. Although they lack the formal agents of many of the other forms of probate, they are often filled out accurately and precisely. In many cases, these self-proved wills are considered more reliable than Probate of Wills since probate itself is a time-consuming and expensive process that may be avoided through a self-proved Will.
The probate process in the United States traditionally began after the death of the last head of a household, said a lawyer who is expert in Probate Law. A Probate Court then handled all estate matters including distribution of property and debt. As more families accumulated larger estates over time, the court system was required to grant a last will and testament for the decedent’s estates so that they could be distributed as needed under the state probate process.
In some cases the last will and testament were never recorded or executed. In recent years, the probate courts have begun granting a last will and testament “testamentary powers,” which allow state courts to order certain assets to be transferred to beneficiaries. These powers are often referred to as “extraordinary powers.” Many states also allow for certain family members to become conservators. While conservators do not actually administer an estate, they are empowered to act in the decedent’s interest and to exercise legal control over any estate assets.
If you are considering probate, it is important to hire an experienced probate lawyer. Your attorney should have many years of experience working with both parties in a probate court situation and should be able to provide you with the names of many experienced executors. He/she should also be familiar with the procedures that govern the administration of estates in probate court. If possible, your attorney should be able to provide you with a sample or certified record of probate authority. If you cannot locate such a document, it is likely that your executor will not be permitted to proceed with the wishes contained in the document and may even be penalized for refusal.