How The Probate Will Submission Process Works
Losing someone you care for is always a trying time. Not only are you grieving, but you may also need to take care of the endless amount of paperwork and decision making that comes in these circumstances. The probate process is defined as the court-supervised administration of the deceased person’s assets, including settling debts and taxes and distributing what’s left to the rightful heirs and relatives.
The first step to taking care of an estate is to submit the will of the deceased to the probate court. Each state has its specific rules, with some states having adopted the Uniform Probate Code (UPC), which makes the probate process simpler and more flexible. However, the probate will submission process is relatively similar from state to state. Here is everything you need to know to submit a will to the probate court and starts the process.
1. You do not need to be the executor of the estate to submit the will to the probate court.
In most states, anyone in possession of the deceased’s last will must file it with the probate court as soon as possible, even if they are not named as the executor of the estate. However, if you know who the executor is and how to reach him or her, send them a copy if possible. Most states impose a deadline of ten to 90 days after the death, or after you receive notice of the death. Not filling the will may put you at risk of a lawsuit by anyone who suffers losses as a result of your failure to promptly turn the will over to the court, such as a creditor or an heir.
2. Where should you file the will?
You will need to present yourself in person to the courthouse of the county where the deceased person resided. You’ll deposit the original signed will with the probate court, county clerk, or “register of wills” depending on the county you are submitting the will: the probate court will tell you which body is responsible. They will also provide you with a packet containing inventory and appraisal forms, accounting papers, as well as a general probate submission form that you will need to fill in and notarize where appropriate. The filing fee depends on the county but is usually between $20 and $50.
3. What documents do you need to start the probate will submission process?
Starting the probate process involves a considerable amount of paperwork. You will need to locate a large number of documents in order to file up the probate will submission forms and find the individuals and companies that need to be notified of the passing of the deceased person. They include any asset information documents, business documents, bills, estate planning documents, contracts, taxes, etc.
4. Notifying the heirs and beneficiaries
When starting the probate will submission, you will need to make a list of the beneficiaries named in the will as well as the creditors, insurance companies, public agencies, etc. that still need to be paid. They will need to be notified of the passing of the deceased person by being sent a death certificate. They will send you a final bill that will need to be paid off the assets of the deceased. Gather the contact information of the beneficiaries, including:
- Name – as listed in the Last Will and Testament and any other names by which the person is known
- Mailing address
- Phone numbers – home, work, cell
- Date of birth
- Social Security Number
- Email address
These steps will make the probate process quicker and smoother.