American lawyers and laymen alike take for granted a system of probate of wills and administration of decedents' estates under the supervision of a single tribunal usually called a probate court. We are familiar with the setting up of the will, appointment of the personal representative, filing of bond and inventory by the latter, granting of allowances for support of the family, notice to creditors to present their claims, and settlement of accounts of the administration, all accomplished by this court's orders or under its scrutiny. While real property is deemed to pass directly to the heirs or devisees, it is often included in the inventory and in many states may be subject to possession or control of the personal representative in much the same way as personal property. Usually land may be sold to pay debts, and it is sometimes finally assigned to the beneficiaries, both by order of the probate court. The latter may and commonly does have jurisdiction over the whole administration of the entire estate.
Thomas E. Atkinson,
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE MASSACHUSETTS PROBATE SYSTEM,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol42/iss3/5