Probate Services
Solano County, San Francisco North Bay, Ca. USA

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Probate is the legal process of settling the estate of a deceased person, specifically

resolving all claims and distributing the decedent's property.

In some states, after a person residing in that state has died without a valid will or trust, his or her property immediately becomes the property of the spouse, if any, without the need for probate. (This is the case in states that recognize a married couple's property as community property or as tenancy by the entireties.) However, in cases where the surviving spouse does not automatically succeed to the decedent's property, then it is usually necessary to "probate the estate", whether or not the decedent had a valid will. A court having jurisdiction of the decedent's estate (often called a "probate court") supervises probate, in order to ensure the decedent's property is distributed according to the direction of his will and the laws of the state.

The will usually names an executor, a person tasked with carrying out the instructions laid out in the will. The executor's most common task is the marshalling of the decedent's assets throughout the probate process. If there is no will, or if the will does not name an executor, then the probate or other court having jurisdiction of the decedent's estate can appoint one. Traditionally, the representative of an intestate estate is called an administrator. In some cases, where the person named as executor cannot or will not be able to handle the work, or wishes to have someone else handle the work, another person will be named as administrator. Generally, an executor is a person named in the will who receives something from the proceeds of the estate in addition to following the instructions in the will, while an administrator is not named in the will to be a recipient of the proceeds of the estate.

The representative of a testate estate who is someone other than the executor named in the will is an administrator with the will annexed, or administrator c.t.a. (from the Latin cum testamento annexo.) The generic term for executors or administrators is personal representative.

 

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