Noun: the official proving of a will. Verb: to establish the validity of a will. Regardless of which you use, probate generally requires involvement of the Court. Probate is the court-supervised process of authenticating a last will and testament, if there is one, or of proving the heirs-at-law of the decedent if there is no will. There are several steps to probate which may include: authentication of the will, appointment of a personal representative, also known as an executor of the estate, locating the decedent’s assets, paying the decedent’s debts, preparing the final income tax returns and any other tax returns needed, and distributing the remainder of the estate to the rightful heirs of the decedent.