How to File Probate and How the Probate Process Works

There is much more to probate than distributing the assets that belonged to the decedents. The administrator or executor is required to perform several tasks and to document every step of the process for the probate packet. That includes all paperwork associated with estate execution. Keep reading to learn How to file a probate claim and the general probate process.

The Executor Acquires the Death Certificate

The death certificate is needed to prove the decedent is really dead. The judge may request to see it when the executor presents the will or if someone applies to become the personal administrator if there was no will. The estate should include as many copies as required because the death certificate is also going to be used for claiming payable-on-death life insurance benefits and other accounts.

The Executor Gives the Will to the Judge

Probate court is going to prove the will and ensures the terms are executed properly. Usually, states require the witnesses who signed a will to appear at court for it to be proven. However, there are some states that provide self-proving affidavits. With these, the witnesses sign them when they sign the will. The affidavit serves as a substitute for any personal testimony from the witnesses and lets everything move through the process faster and more easily.

Once the judge approves the executor, they will issue the letters of testamentary. This is what grants control of the estate to the executor.

Identifying and Appraising the Assets

The administrator or executor is responsible for finding assets that belong in the decedent’s estate. They may also need to have the property appraised because the value of it will likely be important when determining the share that each beneficiary should receive. All costs related to this appraisal will come from the estate.

Covering the Costs of Debts and Liabilities

If creditors are owed money from the decedent’s estate, it is necessary for the estate to let them know about the person’s estate within a reasonable amount of time. The laws that explain when and how to do this differ from one state to another. There are some states that let smaller estates skip this step in the process. Selling the assets of the decedent is one way to repay the debts that are owed.

If there are ongoing lawsuits against the estate, they may continue throughout the probate period. If a judgment is filed, the estate may have to pay the amount claimed. If someone is the beneficiary of the estate, they will not be considered personally responsible for paying liabilities or debts of the deceased person unless they had co-signed the debt or if they were named in a lawsuit that was filed.

Hire an Attorney for Help

If the process is confusing or difficult, it is a good idea to hire an attorney to help. They can evaluate the documents and ensure the right steps are taken to ensure the probate process goes as smoothly as possible and the person’s beneficiaries get the assets they should receive.


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