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Probate Attorneys in Rhode Island

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What is “Probate”?

The word “probate” originally related to proof. Then it came to relate to proof of wills and specifically the act or process of proving a will. In American law, probate is now a general name or term used to include all matters of which probate courts have jurisdiction. In Rhode Island, Probate practice and procedure are controlled primarily by Title 33 of the General Laws and the interpretations of those statutes by the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

Each city or town in Rhode Island has its own Probate courts and they appoint (or elect) their own Probate judge. Probate hearings are normally held in the city or town hall.

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What matters specifically come under the control of the Probate Court?

The attorney will then ask:

  • Wills including proof of wills, contest of wills, interpretation of wills, custody of wills, appointment of and qualification of executors

  • In a case where no will was drafted, an “Administration” is opened, an administrator is appointed and property of a decedent is disposed of in accordance with the laws of intestacy or the “Rules of Descent” contained in Title 33, Chapter 33-1

  • If there is a will or if there is no will, the personal representative (the executor or administrator) must collect the decedent’s estate, manage it, provide for an allowance to the decedent’s family, pay claims against the estate (or deny the claim and defend the denial), prosecute or defend suits for and against the estate, inventory and account for estate assets, and distribute the estate in accordance with gifts in the will , – all under the supervision and control of the probate judge

  • A probate bond is obtained in all cases and “surety” (a corporate guaranty in the nature of “insurance”) is required on the bond of the personal representative unless in the case of a will the testator directed that the executor shall serve without surety

  • Guardianships and Conservatorships including those over “incompetents” due to advanced age or disability including “disabled” adults and children, and young children.

  • Complaints of beneficiaries, heirs, wards and other interested parties regarding the performance of a personal representatives, a guardian or a conservator and hearings including petitions to remove them and replace them