By: Akanksha A. Panicker

When an individual dies leaving a Will, the probate proceedings must be set into motion. Probate essentially is the approval of the terms of the testator’s will by a judge to ensure that the assets and possessions are distributed to the decedent’s beneficiaries without a snag. An individual who dies intestate or leaving assets worth less than USD 50,000 does not need to follow the same procedure. An executor is appointed to smooth the proceedings but can only begin the procedure once the will is admitted to probate by the county of demise’s Surrogate Court. This process needs to be initiated to verify that the will is valid and accurately reflect the testator’s wishes. The Surrogate’s Court appreciates the assets, property, and possessions [collectively called the estate] by the beneficiaries’ names in the will.

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