Probate Checklist

Has the time come for you to face the probate administration process head on? When this happens, it typically means that a loved one, such as a parent, has passed on. Although you have a lot on your mind, such as making final arrangements, there will come a time when you need to turn your attention to probate.

Going through a probate proceeding is easier said than done. However, despite the many challenges that could arise, when you know what’s expected of you it’s simple to make all the right decisions.

The following checklist will put you in a better position, allowing you to understand more about the process, your role, how to prepare, and how to bring it to a closure.

  1. Locate your loved one’s will, as well as any other estate planning documents that the probate court will require.
  2. Obtain several death certificates (typically 10+), as you will need these as the process moves forward.
  3. Find the local probate court that will handle the proceeding from beginning to end.
  4. Reach out to all of the beneficiaries listed on the will. During this time, explain what’s going on and how the process will move forward.
  5. File the legal documents required by the court. This is when you will also pay some of the filing fees.
  6. Make a list of all assets, locate each one, and create a plan for managing them. This can include everything from a home to retirement accounts.
  7. Open a new bank account that will be used to handle all payments associated with the estate. In short, this can be used to receive payments, such as final paychecks, while also paying debts and taxes.
  8. Don’t forget to pay any expenses that arise before the process comes to an end.
  9. Make note of all the debts owed by the estate, and then do whatever it takes to pay these without delay.
  10. Notify creditors of the person’s passing, as well as the fact that the probate process is in progress. This allows them to file a claim for payment, if applicable.
  11. Learn more about estate taxes in your state. If this type of tax is owed, now’s the time to take care of it.
  12. File a final income tax report, paying close attention to federal, state, and local obligations.
  13. Make final payment of any fees that are due to the court, your attorney, tax professionals, and anyone else who may have helped along the way.
  14. Use the will to determine how any leftover property is to be distributed.
  15. Work with the probate court to ensure that the estate is closed.

Final note: you have the right to go through the probate process alone, however, many people decide to hire an attorney. A legal professional knows what to expect, how to avoid problems, and ways to save you time and money. Please contact Levine & Furman, LLC if you need help!

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