What is Probate Law?
It's the area of law that deals with the assets and liabilities of a deceased person after they have passed away. And there are multiple processes.
Probate is technically the process you follow when when a person dies with a will in place, but the term is often used generically to mean all the different legal processes that must happen when a person passes away.
What if My Deceased Loved One Doesn’t Have a Will?
When a person writes a will, they're really just expressing their wishes for what will happen with their assets after they are gone. It also identifies the person or persons (called the executor here in Georgia and personal representative in some other states) they want to take care of their estate for them.
However, the will alone does not authorize that person to those or persons named to begin to act — that's where the probate court comes in.
If My Loved One Has A Will, Why Would I Need Probate Law?
When a person writes a Will, they're really expressing their wishes for what will happen with their assets after they are gone.
That doesn't necessarily mean that that person they've named to take care of those things is authorized.
How Does Someone Become Authorized to Represent An Estate?
In order to be authorized to represent the estate and carry out the deceased person's wishes, the person that's been named in the will (the executor) must file the will and a petition with the probate court in the county where the deceased person lived. Then, they will be appointed to serve the Probate Court judge in that county.
Once the judge has submitted the will to probate and the executor has taken an oath in front of the clerk at the probate court, the court will issue letters testamentary. This shows the right to settle their estate and carry out the terms of the will.
If you would like more information about any of these things I've discussed, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!