Probate & Contested Wills

The court process by which a Will is proved valid or invalid. The legal process wherein the estate of a decedent isadministered. When a person dies, his or her estate must go through probate, which is a process overseen by a probate court. If thedecedent leaves a will directing how his or her property should be distributed after death, the probate court must determine ifit should be admitted to probate and given legal effect. If the decedent dies intestate—without leaving a will—the courtappoints a Personal Representative to distribute the decedent's property according to the laws of Descent and Distribution. These laws direct the distribution of assets based on hereditary succession. In general, the probate process involves collecting the decedent's assets, liquidating liabilities, paying necessary taxes, anddistributing property to heirs. Probate procedures are governed by state law and have been the subject of debate and reformsince the 1960s. The Uniform Probate Code (UPC) was first proposed in 1969 by the National Conference ofCommissioners on Uniform State Laws and the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association. The prime focus ofthe UPC is to simplify the probate process. The UPC, which has been amended numerous times, has been adopted in itsentirety by 16 states: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska,New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah. The other 36 states have adopted some part of theUPC but still retain distinct procedures.
- From LegalDictionary.TheFreeDictionary.com

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