The Process of Probate Hearings

The Process of Probate Hearings

Probate is a court-supervised process where the deceased individual’s assets, debts, and taxes are gathered, then distributed to inheritors. Although it is a court-supervised process, the court is involved very little unless the family members or other entity is in disagreement. Many attorneys summarize probate as a lot of paperwork.

Probate Process

Probate is started when an individual requests that the probate court names them as personal representative, executor, or other appropriate term.

Probate court will then schedule the first hearing. This is to allow any parties who wish to object to the individual requesting the title of executor. Prior to this hearing, all beneficiaries must be sent legal notice, as well as any creditors. The local newspaper should be contacted in order to alert any other parties that would need to know. Once this is complete, the court then grants approval of the request unless any objections have been made.

The probate court might require the executor to post an insurance policy, a bond, which protects the estate of the deceased should the executor cause any kind of loss or damage. Most wills, however, state that a bond is not required.

The next step is to prove the validity of the will. This is done with a witness, in most cases, and a simple form for them to fill out.

During this pending period within the probate case, the executor is able to get together all the assets and then open a bank account which will be in the name of the estate. This account will be used to pay any creditors.

The court may need to be given a property list of the deceased, as well as the appraisal of any assets.

Once the executor is confident that the estate has sufficient funds to pay off any creditors, as well as taxes, they may be able to give beneficiaries property early. Giving property early is important for cases of depreciation, like vehicle value. It is the executor’s responsibility to remain impartial and to be fair when it comes to handling beneficiaries of the estate. There is to be no favoritism.

Finally, the property is distributed and the estate is closed. The period for the creditor’s claim has passed, and any remaining property should be distributed for the estate to be closed. A request is put in to close the estate, a record of activities is given to the court, and the process is completed with the court and any information they either have or need for the executor.

Probate Checklist

  1. Funeral Arrangements
  2. Estate Attorney
  3. Estate Planning Documents
  4. Legal Documents
  5. Ownership Documentation
  6. Social Security
  7. Summary of Assets
  8. Summary of Debts and Expenses
  9. Letters Testamentary
  10. Legal Notices
  11. IRS Filings
  12. Estate Account
  13. Record Keeping
  14. Mail
  15. Keys
  16. Safe Deposit Boxes
  17. Home and Contents
  18. Custody of Valuables
  19. Insurance Coverage
  20. Insurance Benefits
  21. Unclaimed Property
  22. Employment Benefits
  23. Pay On Death Assets
  24. Credit Cards
  25. Cancellations
  26. Investment Advice
  27. Asset Valuations
  28. Preliminary Inventory
  29. Income Tax Advice
  30. Cash Accounts
  31. Asset Management Plan
  32. Asset Retention or Liquidation
  33. Payment of Estate Tax
  34. Estate Tax Returns
  35. Certificate of Discharge
  36. Executor or Administrator’s Fee
  37. Expiration of Mandatory 6-Month Claim Period
  38. Debts and Expenses
  39. Insufficient Assets
  40. Estate Administration Records
  41. Annual Accounting
  42. Escrow Funds
  43. Proposal for Distribution
  44. Escrow Fund Deposit
  45. Asset Distribution
  46. Estate Account Closure
  47. Insurance Cancellation
  48. Income Tax Returns
  49. Estate Closing Documents
  50. Escrow Fund Release
  51. Trust Administration
  52. Your Estate Planning

It is best to hire an experienced probate attorney for probate hearings, paperwork, guidance, and all other aspects that may appear during the process. Attorney Rex B Bushman is ready to take your call and answer any questions you may have.