A surrogate court, which is also commonly known as a probate court, is a specialized court that hears the cases about the affairs of a deceased person. It deals with the matter of probate of wills and the administration of estates. A surrogate court basically, administers the appropriate distribution of the assets, checks the validity and reliability of the wills and refrains wrong doing by executors. Under the availability of a will, the probate court examines the authenticity of the will and properly distribute the assets while in the case of intestacy, the court decides the equal distribution of the deceased’s property according to the law declared by the legal affairs associations. Probate proceedings are held in the city where the decedent had permanent residence or had a domicile of.
In the case of appeals, process at surrogate courts involves a complete process to distribute the property. It initiates with the process that whether the deceased person has left any will or not. But even before that, a case is filed in the local surrogate court which technically needs the death certificate. The requirements of the courts also vary.
- If the will is not available, the court checks the attorney, whether the person has filed their attorney or not.
- If the will is available, action is taken on it. The executor claims the will to the local surrogate court to approve the will under his or her name.
The next step is to file a petition. If the decedent left a will, then a Petition for Probate must be filed. The person died intestate, then a file or a petition for Letters of Administration is used. After it gets done, the court would require all these and other necessary documents.
After all the legal processes involving heirs, interested parties agreements, the court appoints the executor to be the representative of the deceased property. The court also issue a decree granting probate by issuing Letters Testamentary to the executor. Letters Testamentary is a document that gives the executor the responsibility of administering the estate. Once this process has be legally formulated, the court handovers all the essential assets to the executor that has been assigned as the representative of the property. The essential assets and property enlist the following:
- Bank Accounts
- Real Estate Properties
The executor will also be responsible for paying the debts, taxes and will also be bound to distribute the estate property to all the beneficiaries.
Important Factors about Probate:
- The Will made from fraud will be denied under the law.
- All separated papers, important documents, requirements and original death certificate should be submitted to the court for further process.
- As per the rules of the court, all the original documents should be submitted, copy of documents or damaged ones will not be accepted by the court.
- The Will created in other or foreign languages will be accepted only if the tester understands the language of the Will.
The process of probate in surrogate court is not difficult until and unless all the necessary measures are taken into account.