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What is Probate of a Will?

In legal terms, probate is the legal process by which a will is validated by the court as the last will of a deceased testator. In simple terms, probate means a copy of certification from the court or a competent jurisdiction that a will can be transfer to a beneficiary of the will. A probate is not to be confused with a succession deed.

What the procedure for Probate?

While you might think that the process for a probate is difficult and time consuming, it is not. The entire process is done in 4 steps, which are:


The first step is to make an application to the District Judge via a petition duly signed and verified by or on behalf of the applicant in the format prescribed under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. This should be done after 7 days of the testator’s death.


The application needs to be prepared by a lawyer and sent to the high court, under whose jurisdiction the property falls. In some cases, a lower court may accept the application.


Certain documents are required to be submitted while applying for a probate. You need to show documents that prove that the will is genuine. You will also need to show the death certificate of the testator and submit a document to prove that the will was executed by the testator on his own free will.


Once the court receives the application, it verifies all details and issues an invitation letter to the nearest kin of the deceased to claim the probate. A letter is also stuck at prominent places for public view and to invite objections, in case of any. If after 30 days, there is no objection from the kin or the public, the probate is issued.

What are the advantages of a Probate?

  • It helps protect small estates.
  • It gives direction to cases where there is no will in place, so that the right beneficiary gets the testator’s inheritance.
  • The probate process is beneficial to those want to make the distribution of the will public.
  • A probate gives you the chance to close out all creditors to the estate within a 90-day period.
  • It can use used as a tool to challenge a creditor claim in court if you think that the creditor has falsely made a claim.
  • A probate offers the court the opportunity to handle a disputed will.
  • Probate of a will establishes the authenticity of will from the death of the testator and shows the executors legal heirs to the content of the will.

What are the documents required for a probate?

In all applications to the court, documents have to be submitted. For a probate, along with the application, you will need to submit the following documents:

  • A copy of the will, if there was one created.
  • The municipal death certificate of the testator.
  • A letter stating that the testator was off sound mind, when he or she made the will.
  • Proof that the will has been executed by the testator.

How long does it take to probate a will in India?

It generally takes six to nine months for the entire process to complete. This is however, if there are no valid objections either from the public or the kind of the deceased making the will. In cases of objection, the time frame might extend to even 2 years, depending on the seriousness of the objection.

FAQs on Probate of Will

A probate is required when a testator owns the full estate or property. It is a must in cases where there are no co-owners of the property. By law, a probate is mandatory for a testator’s property to be transferred in the names of beneficiaries.
It generally takes around six to nine months for a probate to go through court. However, if there are any objections during the process, it may time more time, depending on the severity of the objection and investigations required.
In cases where the surviving spouse was a co-owner of all the property, there is no need to go through probate in court. But, if the surviving spouse is not a co-owner, a probate in court is necessary for the transfer of property to the beneficiary.
If a beneficiary dies during the probate period, his or her, the asset is transferred to her name, which in turn is transferred to his or her beneficiary.

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