Probate is the legal process of showing that a will is valid via a review. The individuals responsible for opening a deceased’s estate and tendering the will for probate need to study the following steps.
But, before we consider the steps, let’s look at what probate is.
What is Probate?
Probate is a court-backed, legal process of settling the estate of a decedent. If there was a last will and testament, the process serves to validate it and settle any quarrels over inheritances: if the deceased died without a will, the court must appoint an administrator for the estate.
Probate also gives the executor designated in the will the legal right to supervise the probate estate, which include sharing assets and settling debts.
Having understood what probate is, let’s delve into the crux of this article.
Locate and read the decedent’s last will and testament
If you feel that the decedent has written a last will and testament, locate and thoroughly scrutinize the document, as it will show whether or not the decedent has designated a personal representative (aka executor) to handle his estate. If an executor is named, turn the will over to that person. You legally have no further responsibilities, in managing the probate estate. Go to step 3 if the decedent failed to leave a will.
Make a complete list of the will’s beneficiaries
The decedents will should indicate his beneficiaries, which are the persons to whom he or she wishes to leave his property. Make a list of their names and contact details, including recent addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and email addresses. If a beneficiary is deceased, get his or her original death certificate.
Make a complete list of the decedent’s assets
This list should consist of every asset the decedent have, including cash left in his wallet, bank accounts, investments, jewelry, personal effects, furniture, collectibles, cars, boats, real estate, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and business interests.
Make a complete list of the decedent’s liabilities
Liabilities are the financial obligations that an individual has. This list of the decedent’s liabilities should include all of their creditors. Ensure you list all the debts including mortgages personal loans, credit cards, utilities, etc.
Contact an estate lawyer
The executor of the will including its beneficiaries should plan to attend the first meeting with an estate lawyer. The meeting can be conducted in person or by phone. If the decedent doesn’t have a will, his heirs-at-law should attend also, as these persons may be entitled ro collect some of the inheritance, even without a will, simply because of kinship.
Review and sign the documents required to open the probate estate
Different states and counties can have diverse requirements concerning the legal documents needed to officially open estates with probate courts. Estate Lawyers and probate court clerks can provide you with a list of the required items. Just ensure you hire local attorneys who are conversant with your particular county’s local probate rules.
Wait to hear from the court
After all the needed legal paperwork is filed with the probate court, it is best you wait until the probate judge analyses the file. He’ll then either admit the will or estate for probate or ask for extra information. Finally, he will approve a personal representative to act in the stead of the estate and its beneficiaries, by granting the individual “letters of testamentary” or ‘letters of administration.”
Provide certified copies of probate orders to all financial institutions
The personal rep of the estate should take care of everything else from this point forward. The individual should provide copies of all orders signed by the judge and should provide letters testamentary to the banks, credit unions or other financial institution where the deceased’s assets are kept, informing them that he or she is authorized to take control of them.
Contact us to provide you with the best probate lawyer for your case. Our probate lawyers are quite experienced, understanding, and up-to-date about probate laws.