The whole idea of probate court proceedings can be overwhelming and difficult but if you don’t need probate court you may to avoid it altogether, however, it all depends on the decedent, the will and the plans for real estate or real property.
Read more: What is considered an estate?
The first thing you’ll need to do is study the decedent’s assets to see if any of them or even all of them with the categories that don’t require probate. Non-probate assets are as follows:
- Joint tenancy assets
- Trustee bank accounts
- Living trusts
- US savings bond in co-ownership form
- Death benefits or life insurance with the named beneficiaries
- Community property with right of survivorship
- Life estates
If the decedent has ever assets including real property or real estate is not covered under non-probate assets then you’ll need to proceed with probate court. All probate cases are handled by the Superior Court of the county in which the decedent recited at the time of his or her death. If the decedent’s property in a state were not a resident of, that property will be governed by the laws of that particular state and they must be commenced in the state in which the property is located.
From here you need to figure out who will represent the estate. This is typically the estate representative, executor or administrator. This person will represent the estate in all court proceedings. If there is no will, the court will choose an estate representative.
The representative will need to request certain probate forms. Estate executives will need to send a letter of request to the clerk of the Superior Court in which the decedent owned real property. You’ll need to request two copies of the following forms:
- Petition for Probate
- Certificate of Assignment
- Notice of Petition to Administer Estate
- Proof of Subscribing Witness
- Order for Probate
- Duties and Liabilities of Personal Representative
- Letter Form #D E – 150
- Application and Order Appointing Probate Referee
- Inventory and Appraisal
- Allowance for Rejection of Creditors Claim
- Notice of Hearing
- Ex Parte Petition for Final Discharge and Order
- Additional local forms required
You may also need to send a certain amount of money to cover the fees. Check with the local County Clerk on specifics for exact prices. Typically the court charges of filing fee whenever a document is filed that requires a court hearing. Most probate proceedings require a $395 for the Petition for Probate and an additional $395 for the Petition for Final Distribution.
Once probate proceedings are filed with the county, the court clerk will give the petition hearing date that will be not less than 15 or more than 30 days after the petition is filed. When the court approves the petition, the executor must prepare and send in a Order for Probate for the judge’s signature. This appoints the estate representative, admits the will to probate and appoints a probate referee to appraise the estate assets.
Again, you will need a court proceeding if there is real estate or real property to contend with after the decedent has passed. If you have additional questions feel free to contact me today for answers to any of your probate real estate questions.