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Who are the parties involved in probate?

The probate process largely relies on the people involved to help move the case along and free the estate from the process. 

U.S. News and World Report explains there are four main parties in probate, but there could be other people involved in some situations. 


The judge is an essential party to the probate process. It is the judge who will make decisions and rulings about estate assets and other issues that come up during probate. The judge is also who ends probate with a ruling to close the estate. 


Beneficiaries are those people who will receive assets from the estate. You may be a beneficiary if your parent dies and leaves you something in his or her will. You may also be a beneficiary under the law for estates without a will. 

You will not play a large role as a beneficiary. Mainly, your one duty is to accept assets left to you. However, in some cases, you may need to testify or go before the court if there is an issue. 

Executor or personal representative

The executor or personal representative role puts you in charge of the estate. You handle any of the legwork involved in ensuring the court’s rulings. For example, you may have to track down beneficiaries, pay taxes on assets, sell assets or manage income. 

You must also keep records of your interactions with the estate. You will answer questions beneficiaries may have. Your role is like the estate manager and lasts until the court closes it. 


Debts do not go away upon death. If you owe debts, then your creditors will come forward with their claims during probate. The court will decide how or if to pay them.