Lesson 2: The Probate Process Defined


You learned in the previous lesson that a person’s last will and testament is intended to express their wishes for what is to happen to their positions after death. In many cases, a person’s will may include instructions concerning the disposition of their body, funeral directions, and/or memorial instructions. A will may be revoked through the creation of a new will or through a document known as a codicil, as discussed before.

The probate process is a legal procedure intended to certify that a person’s estate is properly disposed of, and the process has changed very little over the past several centuries. In the United States, the probate process is modeled on/derived from English law. Where there is a will and it is presented to a court to be proved, there is a probate process that takes place. In cases where a person dies intestate (without a will), the court may become involved in making sure the person’s estate is correctly valued, divided, and distributed to appropriate beneficiaries.

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