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What Is Surrogate Court?

Some laws exist to respond to issues regarding a person’s properties and assets once he or she dies. This may include the disbursement of such assets according to a will that the deceased may have written. This area of law is referred to as probate law and the court that supervises the disbursement of assets upon a death is referred to as a probate court.

Probate is a legal process that involves the administering and distribution of a deceased individual’s estate based on the will that he or she had left. Probate attorneys handle this legal process, serving as a representative of the executor of the deceased’s estate. The usual process of a surrogate court involves validation of the will. This can easily be done if an affidavit is attached to the will and signed by a witness, or having a witness provide a testimony stating that the testator was of sound mind when writing the will. Once this is done, the surrogate court must be given the will for further evaluation and review. The surrogate court then appoints an executor of the estate, a personal representative of the deceased, to proceed with the terms and conditions provided for in the will with regards to the deceased’s estate.

The executor of the estate may be provided for in the will, but in the event that it is not, it is the surrogate court’s responsibility to appoint one, usually a close family relative, the deceased’s bank, a trust company, or a probate lawyer. 

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