Updated: May 4
Probate is the court process for wrapping up a person’s affairs when they die. The court is the Register of Wills. The process takes about one year to complete. Probate of the estate is required when the descendant owns real estate as an individual or has individually owned financial accounts without beneficiaries that total $30,000 or more.
The process starts with filing the original will within 10 days of death. Then the Executor should promptly petition the court to issue an order authorizing them to administer the estate. The Executor next files an Inventory of Assets to establish the date of death value for probate assets (individually owned, no beneficiary). The Inventory is due three months from the date of appointment as Executor. Along with this timeline is an eight-month period for creditors to file claims against the estate. The creditor period runs from the date of death. Once the creditor period runs, then the executor has approximately four months to file the final Accounting.
Doesn’t sound that bad, does it? The devil is in the details, as they say. The Executor is accountable to the court and the beneficiaries for mistakes and losses that may occur. You should at least speak with an Estate Administration Attorney about the process before deciding to go it alone.