PROBATE OF A WILL. The proof before an officer appointed by law, that an
instrument offered to be recorded is the act of the person whose last will
and testament it purports to be. Upon proof being so made and security being
given when the laws of the state require such security, the officer grants
to the executors or administrators cum testamento annexo, when there been
adopted, but provision is made for perare no executors, letters
testamentary, or of administration.
2. The officer. who takes such probate is variously denominated; in some states he is called judge of probate. in others register, and surrogate in others. Vide 11 Vin. Ab. 5 8 12 Vin. Ab. 126 2 Supp. to Ves. jr. 227 1 Salk. 302; 1 Phil. Ev. 298; 1 Stark. Ev. 231, note, and the cases cited in the note, and also, 12 John. R. 192; 14 John. R. 407 1 Edw. R. 266; 5 Rawle, R. 80 1 N. & McC. 326; 1 Leigh, R. 287; Penn. R. 42; 1 Pick. R. 114; 1 Gallis. R. 662, as to the effect of a probate on real and personal property,
3. In England, the ecclesiastical courts, which take the probate of wills, have no jurisdiction of devises of land. In a trial at common law, therefore, the original will must be produced, and the probate of a will is no evidence.
4. This rule has been somewhat changed in some of the states. In New York it has petuating the evidence of a will. 12 John. Rep. 192; 14 John. R, 407. In Massachusetts, Connecticut, North Carolina, and Michigan, the probate is conclusive of its validity, and a will cannot be used in evidence till proved. 1 Pick. R. 114; l Gallis. R. 622 1 Mich. Rev. Stat. 275. In Pennsylvania, the probate is not conclusive as to lands, and, although not allowed by the Register's court, it may be read in evidence. 5 Rawle's R. 80. In North Carolina, the will must be proved de novo in the court of common pleas, though allowed by the ordinary. 1 Nott & McCord, 326. In New Jersey, probate is necessary, but it is not conclusive. Penn. R. 42.
5. The probate is a judicial act, and while unimpeached, authorizes debtors of the deceased in paying the debts they owed him, to the executors although the will may, have been forged. 3 T. R. 125; see 8 East, Rep. 187. Vide Letters testamentary.