Probate is a legal process conducted by a court (typically referred to as a probate court) that describes the process and procedures for transferring property from the estate of a deceased person to the parties named in his or her will.
The Purpose of Probate:
- To determine the validity of the Will of a deceased person (the testator);
- Aids in identifying and locating beneficiaries;
- Locates and determines the value of the decedent’s assets;
- Resolves any claims against the deceased’s estate; pays the decedent’s final bills; estate taxes and/or inheritance taxes (if any);
- Supervises the distribution of the deceased’s assets (if anything is left) to the decedent’s rightful heirs.
As a general rule, the original Will must be presented for probate.
Probate of a copy or duplicate of a Will is not permitted unless the reason for the absence of the original Will is satisfactorily explained to the court.
If a properly proved copy or duplicate of an original Will that has been lost or destroyed is presented to the court, it may be admitted to probate.