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Probate is the court process to validate the will and the estate representative’s authority to administer the estate. Generally, financial institutions require wills to be probated before releasing assets to the estate representative. Probate protects you, the estate representative. If a claim is made later that the will is invalid, without probate, you may have to pay out of pocket for assets that you have distributed. If you have probate, it protects you against claims under a competing will.
For more details check out:
• Estate Guide
• Your first steps as an estate representative