Do you need to probate a Will?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Do you need to probate a Will?

My husband’s father just passed away last week. My husband is the

executor of his estate. Just days prior to his passing, he and his wife were

finally approved for Medicaid, retroactive to about 6 months ago. They are/were 92 years old and live in an assisted living community. All of their money has been spent down and there is nothing left, no assets. The

income he received social security, and 2 pensions that were put into a QIT

account monthly was used to pay the community, health insurance, and

prescription drugs each month. Do we have to probate the Will? We were told by the county surrogate that it must be probated. That we have to come in

and sit down and it will be reviewed and they will then tell us what has to be

done and the cost but that it needs to be probated. Is this correct?

Asked on September 18, 2018 under Estate Planning, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Wills are enforced  and become legally operative through the probate process; you MUST probate a will to give it effect and carry out its provisions, including appointing an executor, distributing any assets to heirs and beneficiaries, etc. An unprobated will has no effect.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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