Attorney & Mediator
Attorney & Mediator

Wills do go to Probate Court!

I am often surprised to learn that many people believe the following:

-if you have no estate planning in place, your estate goes to Probate, but

-if you have a Will it does not.

This premise is incorrect !  Wills go to Probate Court!  That is what they were designed to do.

In your Will you specify who gets your personal property, real property and assets after your death.  This is also where you nominate your Personal Representative. It is only after an Application or Petition has been properly filed in the Probate Court that this nominated individual is actually appointed by the Court.  At that point he or she is empowered to act, not before.

If the deceased had a bank account owned by him or her alone at the time of death, the bank will not liquidate the account upon presentation of the Will.  It will require a Letter of Authority from the Probate Court which shows that the individual nominated has actually been appointed by the Court and that he/she has the power to act.

The same is true for the sale of real property.  The nominated Personal Representative does not have the authority to list property for sale, nor to complete the sale and sign a Deed, until he or she has been appointed by the Court and a Letter of Authority has been issued.