Probate Estate Law and Legal Definition

Probate is a formal proceeding to establish the validity of a deceased person's will. A Probate-estate consists of those assets of a deceased person that require the appointment of a fiduciary. A fiduciary is appointed to obtain and transfer legal title to probate assets.

Pursuant to section 2-201 of the Uniform Probate Code, probate estate means property that would pass by intestate succession when the decedent died without a valid will. Property under a probate estate includes values subject to a beneficiary designation.

Probate estates are titled only in the decedent's name. Probate assets can include any type of assets, including: real estate, bank accounts, brokerage and investment accounts, promissory notes, contracts for deed, stocks, bonds, life insurance payable to a decedent's estate and vehicles. Additionally, probate estate includes real estate held as tenants in common. However, properties held in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship are excluded from probate estate.