Probate is the act of proving the legal validity of a will. A will may require probate because the person that signed it isn’t around to verify his or her signature.
As Ambrose Bierce wrote, “Death is not the end. There remains the litigation over the estate.” So comes the need for the probate. Though probate, from the Latin probare, “to test or prove,” is usually used for wills, it can also be applied to other legal documents, as in the proving of the validity of a document, or an official certification proving the document is real. Probate is also a verb meaning “to place a convicted person on probation.”