What if There’s a Will?

How To Probate a Will

A will cannot transfer property, so probate is generally necessary even with a will, though it depends on the value and the nature of the property. For smaller estates, there is a less formal procedure that must be followed before the deceased’s property can be legally distributed. But even that is still under the general supervision of the probate court.

If a person dies with a will, a court generally has to provide an opportunity for others to object to the will, and if there are any objections, determine if the will is valid. Some things that can invalidate a will:

  • A more recent will (which, if valid, replaces the older will).
  • The will was made at a time the deceased was not mentally competent to make a will.
  • The will was the result of fraud, mistake, or “undue influence.”
  • The will was not properly executed.
  • The will is a forgery.
  • For some other reason (such as a pre-existing contract) the will is not fully valid.
  • There are other claims against the deceased’s estate that impact what the beneficiaries would receive under the will.

For example, if the deceased owned real estate in his own name, no knowledgeable outside person would accept title to the property, and no bank would lend a new buyer mortgage money on it, unless the estate went through probate so “clear title” could be given to the new owner.

Similarly, few outsiders would enter into any other transactions involving the deceased’s property before the will is “admitted to probate” and someone is lawfully appointed to act for the estate. Feel free to contact us for more information on How To Probate a Will.

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