Wills and Estates

Will Probate  

Our law firm not only makes wills, but also provides services of probating the will in court.

Probate is the legal process whereby a will is “proved” in a court and accepted as a valid public document that is the true last testament of the deceased who made the will. It also confirms the appointment of the person named as executor in the will.

The granting of probate is the first step in the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person, resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person’s property under a will. The probated will then becomes a legal instrument that may be enforced by the executor in the law courts if necessary. A probate also officially appoints the executor (or personal representative), generally named in the will, as having legal power to dispose of the testator’s assets in the manner specified in the testator’s will. However, through the probate process, a will may be contested.

As with any legal proceeding, there are technical aspects to probate administration:

  • Creditors must be notified and legal notices published.
  • Executors of the will must be guided in how and when to distribute assets and how to take creditors’ rights into account.
  • Jointly owned property passes automatically to the surviving joint owner separately from any will, unless the equitable title is held as tenants in common.
  • There are time factors involved in filing and objecting to claims against the estate.
  • There may be a lawsuit pending over the decedent’s death or there may have been pending suits that are now continuing. There may be separate procedures required in contentious probate cases.
  • Estate taxes, gift taxes or inheritance taxes must be considered.
  • The rights of beneficiaries must be respected, in terms of providing proper and adequate notice, making timely distribution of estate assets, and otherwise administering the estate properly and efficiently.

Please feel free to speak with a lawyer from our team for more information regarding this process.