What is a Petition for Probate?

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  • Written By: Jessica Saras
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 02 March 2020
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A petition for probate is a term used to describe the court process for determining whether a person’s will is legally valid. In addition, it is also used to determine how an individual’s assets should be distributed after his or her death. In cases where no will was left, the person’s property is typically distributed using the laws of hereditary succession.

After a person dies, his or her estate must go through probate before anyone else can take possession of the property. Each jurisdiction has its own laws regarding the probate process, including those that prevent anyone from tampering or suppressing another person’s will. As a result, a separate petition of probate is required if any of the individual’s assets, such as a home or other property, is located in another jurisdiction.

To begin the probate process, a representative of the individual who passed away, usually a spouse or close relative, must submit a petition for probate to the court in the individual’s area of residence. If the deceased left a will, the original document must be included with this request, along with a copy of the death certificate. Once the court has received a petition for probate, a hearing will be held to prove the individual’s death and residency.


When a person dies with a will intact, the court must first confirm that he document meets its jurisdiction’s statutory requirements before it can be upheld. Prior to this, the document has no legal validity. If the court does not find any reason to object to the document, the will be admitted into probate, and the individual’s property will be distributed according to its terms.

When a person dies without a will, however, the probate court will be responsible for determining how his or her assets should be distributed. To do this, the probate court appoints someone to distribute any assets he or she left. Once again, this person will most likely be a spouse or relative of the person who passed away. This individual, known as the executor of the estate, is responsible for collecting all of the deceased’s assets and liabilities, paying the appropriate taxes, and distributing any remaining assets to the appropriate heirs, as determined by the jurisdiction’s laws of descent and distribution. In addition, since probate laws vary from one jurisdiction to another, the executor is the person who is responsible for filing a required petition for probate, if the individual owned property in multiple jurisdictions.



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