Probate is a process involving wills, and it takes place after the person who the will concerns has died. In short, it is the process by which the court confirms that the will is valid, and distributes the decedent’s property in accordance with the will.
When a will is written and signed, the event must usually be accompanied by witnesses. They are there to confirm that the person making the will is, in fact, the person the will purports to apply to, that the person appears to be of sound mind, and that there is no evidence of duress or other undue influence in the process.
When a will goes to probate (when the person dies), these witnesses sometimes need to be called into court to confirm that they were present when the will was signed, and that everything they have to attest to as witnesses to a will is true. However, it is not uncommon for these witnesses to die or otherwise become difficult to locate long before a will enters probate.
A self-probating will can help to simplify this process. When the will is drafted, the witnesses simply attach affidavits to the document confirming that they were there, and attesting that they were present, and all the requirements for a valid will were met.
A self-probating will makes it much easier for a court to authenticate a will if the witnesses are deceased, or cannot be found.
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Last Modified: 11-18-2011 03:16 PM PST