How Should You Start the Probate Process?


Quick Answer

To start the probate process, someone acting on behalf of the deceased, usually the executor of the will, comes forward with the will. The probate process is initiated in the probate court in the county of the decedent’s legal residence at his time of death, says New York Life.

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Full Answer

The legal process to wrap up someone's affairs, pay his debts and distribute his assets is the legal process known as probate, according to New York Life. Probate is a court-supervised process.

If an individual passes away without a will, then someone must approach the court and ask for an administrator to be appointed. The administrator acts just as an executor would, and the person appointed as administrator is usually an adult child or the surviving spouse, says New York Life.

There are three steps to the probate process. The first step is to collect all the assets of the deceased and do an inventory to determine which assets are to be probated. From there, the executor or administrator needs to pay all outstanding debts. The last step is for the executor or administrator to formally distribute the remaining assets as outlined in the will and according to the law, according to New York Life.

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