In this issue, we will review the petition to probate will in solemn form.
The petition to probate will in solemn form is used when the deceased has a will and it is the most common probate petition. This probate petition’s sole purpose is to ask the probate court for a determination of whether or not the will filed by the petitioner is the last will and testament of the deceased. If the probate court does determine that the petitioner has submitted a document that is the last will and testament of the deceased, then the probate court will appoint an executor. The executor chosen is often the petitioner themselves. The executor will administer the estate and carry out the terms of the will. On the other hand, if the probate court determines that the document which has been submitted is not the last will and testament of the deceased, then the court may declare the estate to be intestate. If the estate is declared to be intestate then it will proceed as if there were no will at all.
The primary benefit of the petition to probate will in solemn form is that it is final and binding immediately for all heirs served with notice of the proceeding. This is not the case with the petition to probate will in common form, where heirs are allowed to object to the petition or the proposed will within a short window of time. If there is no objection during that window of time the objection is then lost. This allows the executor and beneficiaries to be certain that an heir who is unhappy with the outcome cannot seek to have the will declared invalid after the estate has been settled. For this reason this petition is an attractive choice for many probate cases.
Exactly as the name of this probate petition implies, when filing this petition the petitioner must present the proposed last will and testament of the deceased to the court. This is not a correct petition to file if the will is not able to be found or the deceased did not have a will.
The petitioner is responsible for providing the probate court certain information. Among that information must be the names and addresses of all heirs of the estate. This allows for the probate court to send legal notices to them. Any heir may file an objection, which is called a caveat, with the probate court in order to try to have the will declared invalid. This is commonly referred to as a will contest.
Once the heirs have had an opportunity to object, the petitioner must prove the will to the Probate Court. If the petitioner satisfies the probate court that the document presented is the last will and testament of the deceased, then the probate court will issue an order to that effect. They then allow the named executor to qualify. When the named executor qualifies, the probate court will issue letters testamentary.
We take pride in making sure that each client understands the options available at each stage of the process. Every situation is unique, and our office is dedicated to making certain each individual circumstance is clear. That way, our clients are able to make intelligent and informed decisions. We are able to take the complex and make it simple.
The next issue addresses the petition to probate will in common form. There are key ways in which that petition differs from the petition to probate will in solemn form. Stay tuned.
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