Probate is a legal process through which the assets of a deceased person are properly distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries. The court oversees the estate to make sure debts are paid and proper distribution is made.
A will is a document executed by a person that disposes of his/her property after his/her death. It generally names a personal representative to administer the estate. After the death of the person, the custodian of the will must deposit the will with the Clerk of the Circuit Court, within 10 days after receiving information that the person is deceased. The custodian should supply the person's date of death or the person's social security number to the Clerk upon deposit of the will, if this information is available.