probate

Definitions (2)
Related Terms
1. Certificate issued by a court that the will of a deceased is legally valid, and that the executors appointed under the will are authorized to administer his or her estate.
2. Legal process by which the assets of a deceased are properly distributed (if he or she made a will) to the beneficiaries or heirs through an executor named in the will, or (if he or she died without a will) according to the local law by a court appointed administrator. The court's objective is to ensure that the deceased's debts, taxes, and other valid-claims are paid out of his or her estate (probate assets) before any distribution is made to the estate's beneficiaries, in accordance with the will (if it exists) or on the orders of the court (if it doesn't).
The proceedings of this public process may take years if disputes about claims arise.


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