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What is a probate proceeding?

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

Probate is a court-supervised proceeding where the Surrogate, or judge of the Surrogate's Court, determines that a Will is valid and appoints an 'executor' or fiduciary who will carry out the terms of the Will. Before a Will is probated, the validity of the Will must be established in a proceeding where jurisdiction is obtained over all interested parties who are given an opportunity to oppose the Will before its admission to probate. If a Will is validly executed, then it is difficult to overturn absent fraud or undue influence, but if such can be proven then the Will in its entirety will be discarded. Interested parties may ascertain whether it makes sense to formally object to the probate of a Will by deposing the people involved in the drafting, execution, and witnessing of the Will without forfeiting their bequests under the Will.

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