How Do You File a Will?


Quick Answer

File a will by petitioning the probate court that has jurisdiction over the will, explains attorney Renee Hykel Cuddy for LegalZoom. After the probate court officially appoints the executor, who is named in the will, the probate process begins.

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Full Answer

A will appoints the person who acts as the executor of the estate, and if the deceased does not have a will, the probate court appoints an administrator. The will also appoints an individual to serve as guardian of the testator's minor children. The executor notifies the beneficiaries and immediate family members when initiating the probate process. The probate court determines the will is valid, whether it is properly executed, and makes certain the will was not created under undue influence, duress or fraud, according to JRank's Law Library.

If a beneficiary disagrees with parts of the will or the validity of the will, the court oversees the contesting process. The court may also have to rule on a will contest, which occurs when a beneficiary disagrees with the validity of the will or parts thereof. The process continues with the overseeing of any debts and taxes to be paid, including the funeral expenses, notes Hykel Cuddy. From there, the deceased's assets are transferred to the beneficiaries in accordance with the will's terms.

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