What does it mean to “probate” a Will?
A probate proceeding is a Court process used to administer the property of somebody who dies (a “decedent”) using his or her Will. Probate is a process that determines the decedent’s assets, determines his heirs, pays any debts that are owed by the estate, and distributes the property under the terms of the Will. A Will must be probated. The Will is filed with the Court as part of the probate process. The assets that are dealt with during probate are those assets that do not pass by operation of law and that are included in the person’s Will. In New York, the Court that handles probate is called Surrogate’s Court.