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What is Probate?

What is Probate?

What is Probate in the Common Form?

What is Probate in the Solemn Form?

What is a Probate Asset?

Can Non-Probate Assets become Probate Assets?

What is a Probate Estate?

What is Ancillary Probate Administration?





Q: What is Probate?

Probate is the judicial procedure by which a testamentary document is established to be a valid Will; the proving of a Will to the satisfaction of the court. Unless set aside, the probate of a will is conclusive upon the parties to the proceedings (and others who had notice to them) on all questions of influence and due execution of the Will. But probate doesn't preclude the inquiry into the validity of the Will's provisions or on the proper construction and legal effect.

From Blacks Law Dictionary   

For a more helpful description in layman's terms, see the Lenzi Law Firm Probate Blog on Probate by clicking this link


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Q: What is Probate in the Common Form?

Probate in the Common Form is granted in the registry, without any formal procedure in court, on the personal representatives ex parte application. For administrative purposes, courts typically prefer this type of probate. 


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Q: What is Probate in the Solemn Form?

Probate in the Solemn Form is probate granted as a final decree when all interested parties have been summoned. Probate in the Solemn Form is a much more expensive procedure but has strategic benefits for precluding the subsequent challenge of the Will (or nonexistence of the Will) in the future. 


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Q: What is a Probate Asset?

It is crucial to note that their is a significant difference between probate and non-probate assets. Generally probate assets are the decedent's assets that have not otherwise been validly designated to go to another person, business or charity. Non-probate assets are assets that have been designated to go to another person, business or charity. Typical non-probate assets include assets that pass to a beneficiary (not the decedent's estate) via a beneficiary designation or right of survivorship.


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Q: Can Non-Probate Assets become Probate Assets?

Yes. Non-Probate Assets can become Probate Assets. A personal representative can petition the court to obtain powers over assets that the personal representative would not otherwise have power over. For example, if the decedent doesn't have enough Probate Assets to pay all the debts of the estate, the personal representative may petition the court for the power of sale over certain Non-Probate assets to pay the debts of the estate. There may be other reason why a personal representative would petition the court for the powers of over otherwise Non-Probate assets. 


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Q: What is a Probate Estate?

A Probate Estate (or Administrable Estate) is all the decedent's property for which a Personal Representative has the power of administration over during the probate process. It does not include non-probate assets that have not otherwise been converted to probate assets by judicial decree. 


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Q: What is Ancillary Probate Administration?

Ancillary Probate Administration is an auxiliary probate administration (auxiliary or secondary). The decedent will have a primary probate process in the State/ Commonwealth where the decedent was domiciled. The Ancillary Probate Administration may be required in any state where the decedent had an interest in real property. The idea is that the decedent's home state has jurisdiction over the decedent's person (thus personal assets) and each State/ Commonwealth has jurisdiction over the real property situated within its borders.


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The Lenzi Law Firm, PLLC assists clients throughout Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. including Fort Washington, Falls Church, Ft. Myer, Vienna, Rosslyn, Springfield, Mount Vernon, Annandale, Fort Belvoir, Fairfax, Dunn Loring, Merrifield, McLean, Oakton, Reston, Burke, Great Falls, Fredericksburg, Stafford and Herndon in Arlington County, Alexandria County, & Fairfax County.



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