Probate Practice - The Law Center for Civil and Criminal Justice
Probate is a legal document. Receipt of probate is the first step in the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person, resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person's property under a will. Aprobate court (surrogate court) decides the legal validity of a testator's (person's) will and grants its approval, also known as granting probate, to the executor. The probated will then becomes a legal instrument that may be enforced by the executor in the law courts if necessary. A probate also officially appoints the executor (or personal representative), generally named in the will, as having legal power to dispose of the testator's assets in the manner specified in the testator's will. However, through the probate process a will may be contested.
A will or testament is a legal declaration by which a person, the testator, names one or more persons to manage his or her estate and provides for the distribution of his or her property at death.
Guardianship is a legal relationship that gives one or more individuals or agencies the responsibility of the personal affairs of the protected person. A protected person is someone who has been determined by the court to be either incompetent or incapacitated.
Conservatorship is a legal concept in the United States of America, where a guardian and protector is appointed by a judge to manage the financial affairs and/or daily life of another due to physical or mental limitations, or old age.