If someone dies owning assets in his or her name alone (“probatable assets”), there must be a probate court proceeding to determine who is to receive the assets. In other words, the Will is given effect through the probate court proceedings. Even if no Will exists a probate proceeding is necessary.

Probate means “prove.” One must prove to the probate court that the Will is valid, that the maker was competent and not forced to make the Will, that the heirs and representatives are proper, that all creditors have been paid and that all persons are getting their just due. Only
after the proofs are made may an heir receive his or her inheritance.

The most common probate proceeding is called the FORMAL ADMINISTRATION proceeding.