Probate is the legal process by which a decedent's estate is accounted for after death and the assets passed down to beneficiaries. While probate procedures may vary somewhat by jurisdiction, probate jobs remain similar. Common examples of probate jobs include a probate judge, probate lawyer or solicitor, probate paralegal, probate court reporter or clerk, and a probate appraiser.
When someone dies, the assets of the estate need to be inventoried, the bills of the estate need to be paid, and the remaining property passed down to the beneficiaries. This process is known as probate and is handled through a probate court. If the decedent left a will, then the will must be officially filed with the court and admitted into probate. Even when a decedent dies without a will, or intestate, a probate case may still be opened and the laws of intestate succession applied to the estate. Probate jobs include all those positions that are a part of the probate process.
Among the list of probate jobs is a probate appraiser. A probate appraiser is often employed shortly after the decedent dies while the estate is in the process of being inventoried. When a decedent dies leaving personal or real property, the value of the property must be ascertained and reported to the court. In the absence of specific bequests by the decedent, the property will be sold and the proceeds distributed to the beneficiaries of the estate.
There are a number of probate jobs found within the court itself. A probate judge presides over the proceedings from the filing of the estate to the final accounting and closure. A probate clerk will be responsible for receiving all filings in the case and maintaining the file. A court reporter will be responsible for assisting the judge in the courtroom and keeping an accurate record of the proceedings. Transcription requests of all hearings will also be handled by the probate court reporter.
Probate lawyers and solicitors are also examples of probate jobs. When a probate case is opened by the court, the court will appoint an executor or an administrator for the estate. If a will was executed by the decedent, then the court will generally approve the person named in the will. In the absence of a will, the court will appoint one on its own motion. A probate lawyer often represents the executor or administrator. In addition, if a will contest is filed by a beneficiary or heir, then a probate lawyer or solicitor is needed to represent the individual challenging the will.