To start the probate process, you usually need the will, explains New York Life. The executor of the will comes forward and begins the probate process in the county of the decedent's legal residence at the time of his death.
The probate process is the legal process initiated to wrap up a deceased person's affairs, pay his bills and distribute his remaining assets, according to New York Life. It is a court-supervised process. If the individual passes away without a will, an interested party should approach the court and ask for an administrator to be appointed. The court then explains how that process is done and what paperwork and forms apply. The administrator acts just as an executor. A copy of the death certificate is also needed when applying for probate.
The probate process is generally broken up into three steps. The first is collecting assets of the deceased and doing an inventory to determine the assets that need to be probated. The second step is the executor or administrator paying all of the outstanding debts. The process concludes with the formal distribution of the remaining assets as outlined in the deceased person's will and in accordance with state law, notes New York Life.