In order to start the process of probate, you will face many duties. While the process of probate can be extremely lengthy, its an important aspect of handling an estates affairs. Weve taken the time to outline some of the steps that must be accomplished in order to successfully complete the probate process. If you have any questions, or if youd like help understanding probate, contact an estate planning probate attorney.
Producing the original will
In order for the probate court to do its job, you will need to present the original will. Its important to note that the will should not be a copy, but rather an original. The court will use the original will to determine its validity. You will also be asked to submit a statement from one of the witnesses to help prove the validity of the will, unless the will is self-proving.
If no witnesses can be located, the court will also accept a declaration from the attorney who created the will. State laws determine what other methods can be used to help prove that a will is valid.
If youre unable to find the original will, you may need to do some extra searching.
You may consider contacting the attorney who drafted the will. You may also search the decedents safe-deposit box. In some cases, you may need to publish a notice in the newspaper in order to get information on where the will may be located.
Giving notice to the heirs
Once you file the petition with the court, you will receive an assigned hearing date. This is usually scheduled within 45 days of the petition filing. You must give notice to the heirs that you have begun the steps required in the probate process.
You must follow the court-ordered process of notifying heirs. This includes notifying heirs of the hearing location, time, and date. You must give the court information in order to prove that you gave notice.
Additionally, youre required to publish a newspaper copy of the court petition. This is to give anyone who feels he or she has a claim against the estate, to step forward.
Take a look at the next blog post (parts 3 of 3) for more information on probate.