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In law, the process of proving in a court (probate court) that an instrument is the valid last will and testament of a deceased person. The term also refers broadly to the process of administering an estate. Unless it is contested or shown to contain obvious anomalies, a document purporting to be a will requires little authenticating proof for certification (admission to probate). Probate courts also often supervise the administration of estates by executors and oversee the guardianship of minors and others lacking capacity under the law.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on probate, visit Britannica.com.