How to navigate probate as an executor

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2024 | Probate

Probate is a daunting process, especially for those who serve as executors of an estate. If your loved one chose you as executor, you may find that the process requires extensive planning and organization.

To fulfill your duties, you need to have a clear understanding of the process.

File the petition for probate

One of your first duties as executor is filing the probate petition. While your loved one names you executor, the court officially appoints you and grants authority to administer the estate. To file the petition, you will need information about the decedent, the will and your qualifications. To begin the process, ensure you have all the important account documents, including life insurance and financial accounts.

Inventory and value the assets

Start taking inventory of your loved one’s assets to determine their value. You may need to find financial statements, receipts and property deeds. You can value real estate, investments, bank accounts and other personal belongings. If necessary, you can hire someone to appraise the property or to value personal belongings of uncertain value.

Notify the creditors and pay off debts

Before distributing the assets, you must notify the creditors of the deceased’s passing and settle any outstanding debts. You can notify creditors formally or publish a notice in the local newspaper.

Distribute the assets to beneficiaries

Once you pay all of the debts, you can start the distribution process. You will distribute all remaining assets according to the terms of the will or according to the interstate succession. Distributing assets requires you to distribute bank account funds and personal property and transfer real estate ownership.

Once you distribute all assets and settle all debts, you can petition the court to close the estate. Once the court approves, the estate closes officially.