Probate a Will
Probating a Will Process
When your loved one has passed away leaving a will, the process to probate their will is generally straightforward. The first step is to locate the original will, not a copy. In general, wills must be probated within 4 years of the date of death of the decedent, your passed loved one. There are some exceptions such as when the will could not be obtained due to no lack of diligence on your part, or, if only real property (a house, land, and mineral rights) needs to be transferred, the will can be probated after the 4 year deadline as a muniment of title.
The next step is to file an application to probate the will along with the original will in the probate court or county court, depending upon the county. The proper place to file the application is generally the county in which the decedent resided when they passed away. In some circumstances the proper county to file in will be the one in which the decedent passed away or the county where the majority of their assets are located.
The court sets a hearing to review the will and application and appoint the executor, executrix, or co-executors named in the will, as the case may be. Rescheduling this hearing is generally not a problem if the person or persons named to handle the estate in the will are not available on the date set by the court. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court issues letters testamentary that allow you to legally obtain the estate assets and transfer them as prescribed in the will to the devisees and heirs. These letters testamentary give you the legal authority to transfer or sell assets, depending upon the wording of the will, such as homes, bank accounts, retirement accounts, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and vehicle titles among other things.
The final step, which must be completed within 90 days from the date of the court hearing, is usually to file a report with the court detailing all of the assets along with their values and any claims against or debts of the estate.
We have helped numerous clients navigate through the procedure of probating a will, and we have the experience to guide you through it as well.
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