Losing a friend or loved one can be emotional. It is during this hard time that people are forced to make crucial decisions regarding a person’s estate. In some cases, the estate will need to go through the probate process , which helps to settle matters, such as ensuring the will is valid and that the estate assets and property gets to the beneficiaries named in the will. If an estate administrator or executor of the will is named within the document, that person is responsible for seeing the will through the probate process.
The first step is to file the last will and testament along with a copy of the death certificate and an application for probate. These documents should be submitted to the Surrogate’s Court located within the county where the deceased lived. From there the administrator must located all property and assets in the estate and determine the value. Any remaining taxes and debts owed by the deceased are then paid out of the estate’s assets. Throughout the probate process, the administrator must protect the property from vandalism and make sure nothing is taken from the estate. Once everything is paid, the remaining property and assets are then distributed to the rightful heirs.
Not all estates are required to go through probate. Estate’s that value less than $30,000 may avoid the procedures, as well as estates that are put into a revocable living trust. Once property is put into the trust, the trustee may distribute that property out to the beneficiaries without waiting for probate.