A Beginner's Guide To Probate


Losing a loved one is never easy, but there are many responsibilities that needed to be handled after a death. One of the most important is the execution of the will. However, before a will can be executed, it must go through a process known as probate. To give you a better idea of how wills work, here is an introduction to probate:

What is probate?

There are two key components to probate.

First is the collection of taxes and debts. The will is meant to divide the estate of the deceased according to their wishes, but their debts must first be repaid, both to private entities and the government. Prior to the honoring of the will by the executor, certain assets in the estate may be liquidated and turned to cash. These funds will then be used to appease creditors.

Second is the judgment of the validity of the will. The will is meant to honor the wishes of the deceased and distribute their estate as they saw fit. However, a will might not always align with those wishes, which is what the probate court will attempt to determine. For instance, if a will was tampered with in order to change who inherits what, then the court might not grant the will probate. 

Why does probate matter?

As you might expect, the first part of probate is crucial to the credit system. Without probate, a creditor would have no way of getting the money that they are owed in the event that the debtor dies without having paid them back. You can imagine the problems that would arise in such a situation if the debtor did indeed have the funds to pay back their debt, yet gave that money to their dependents instead.

The second element protects the rights of the deceased and ensures that wills are protected. If probate did not need to be granted before a will is executed, then there would be an epidemic of forged wills racing against one another to secure the estate of the deceased.

What if probate is denied?

In some cases, probate might be given to some parts of the will, but not the entirety. In other cases, an entire will might be denied probate. If that does happen, then there is a system for appealing the ruling. However, you want to make sure that you have all of your evidence gathered before proceeding since such affairs can be costly and time-consuming. Contact a local probate lawyer for further assistance.


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