8 Probate Law Concepts Everyone Should Know

Law Blog

Anyone who requires probate law services is going to run into a lot of terminology. It's a good idea when you're talking with probate lawyers to become familiar with some of the terminology they'll use. Here are 8 concepts that everyone who needs probate lawyer services should know.


This is the individual who died, leading to concerns about their will. A decedent may sometimes be referred to as "the deceased," also.


These are the people who stand to receive properties, items, or money from the estate. If a will is of large enough size according to the state laws where the decedent lived, the case will automatically be reviewed by the probate court before benefits are released.


When someone has set down a will, there is always a legal question about how able they were at the time to understand what they signed. If a decedent is determined to have lacked sufficient capacity at the time, usually due to some sort of mental impairment, the will may be invalidated or reviewed.


A change to the will that occurred while the decedent was still alive. Amendments have to be witnessed and notarized, but each state has its rules regarding how many witnesses are required.


When there are multiple issues at stake in the estate, the judge can put the matters together in a single hearing. This reduces repetition, and it also serves to make the best use of the court's time by resolving as many issues as possible at once.


The court may appoint a person to review documents attached to a pending probate case. They will provide the court with information about how to proceed and what to do if there are any outstanding legal issues. All parties are allowed to see the examiner's report before the first hearing date.


The presence of a sufficient number of witnesses during the signing of a will is considered proof that the will is valid in many states. These individuals must have signed sworn statements at the time of witnessing the will. False attestation is considered a form of perjury.


In the absence of a named executor for the estate, the court can appoint an official to serve in a similar role. Administrators are also sometimes appointed when there is a challenge to the authority of an executor.


Administrators and executors must strive to transmit as much financial value as reasonably possible to the estate. Failing to do so is punishable by fees, fines, or imprisonment, depending on the severity.

To learn more, contact a probate attorney.


8 May 2020