When a loved one passes away, their estate sometimes must go through a court supervised process which lawyers call probate or estate administration. During the probate process, the assets of the estate are inventoried, managed and distributed.
The amount of time from opening the probate estate to the time it closes depends upon the size and complexity of the estate and also whether the family members and those inheriting are in agreement on matters affecting the estate.
Some of the standard steps in a probated estate include:
- Filing a petition with the probate court
- Sending required notices to heirs, legatees and creditors
- Petitioning the court to appoint an Executor or Administrator for the estate
- Publishing required notices
- Preparing an inventory of estate assets
- Determining which creditors should be paid
- Selling the estate assets
- Final personal tax return
- Estate tax return and fiduciary return, if applicable
- Distributing assets
Please see the FAQs section for the answers to some common questions about probate and estate administration.