When a person passes away, his or her loved ones file the deceased person’s Will with the Court asking that the Will be “admitted to probate”. The decedent’s Will is “probated” – and the Executor is appointed – when this proceeding is complete.
Before admitting a Will to probate, the Judge must inquire into the particulars of the Will and be satisfied with the validity and genuineness of the Will and its execution. If the Judge is satisfied that the Will was executed properly, and there were no objections to the probate the Will (i.e., objections to the validity of the Will), the Judge then “admits the Will to probate” and issues its decree granting probate. It is based on the decree granting probate that the Letters Testamentary are issued.
Letters Testamentary, or the Certificate of Letters Testamentary, is the evidence given to the Executor that the Will was admitted to probate and the Executor qualified to as act as Executor and was duly appointed Executor by the Court.
When a decedent dies without a valid Will, he or she is said to have died “intestate”. Accordingly, the administration of a decedent’s estate where the decedent died without a Will is called an “intestate administration”.
When the Judge is satisfied that the administration proceeding is complete, and there was no production of a valid Will, the Judge will issue Letters of Administration to the Administrator of the decedent’s estate. The Letters of Administration, or the Certificate of Letters of Administration, is the evidence given to the Administrator that he or she is qualified to act on behalf of the estate.