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What Is the Process of Probate?

When an estate plan is created, an individual is preparing for what will happen to their assets and belongings after their life is over. Part of administering an estate after a person dies is the process of probate. Probate exists to determine whether or not a deceased individual’s will is a valid document. It also concludes the value of these assets and any outstanding payments that must be made. When an individual passes away, there is a possibility they may have an estate to be administered, requiring a will to go through probate. It is important to speak with an experienced attorney if you are responsible for the estate administration process.

Filing a Will to Probate

When an estate plan is created, the individual may appoint an executor to handle the administration. To begin the administration, the executor must file the will in the Surrogate Court where the deceased lived. This requires the executor to provide the court with the individual’s death certificate, the probate petition, as well as any other documents that may be necessary. After the will is officially filed, all beneficiaries to the estate will receive notice of where the probate will occur.

This process works to establish the validity of a deceased individual’s will. When a will is created, there are certain requirements that must be met in order for the document to be considered a legal document. It requires the individual to be of sound mind while they are writing and signing the will. They also must not be coerced into signing the will, with witnesses present to the signing who can attest to that. If these requirements are not met, the will is not legal and may not pass the process probate. If the Surrogate Court determines the will to be valid, the administration process may continue.

Closing an Estate

When a will passes probate, the executor may continue the rest of the responsibilities required of them to administer the estate. This may consist of paying off any outstanding debts or taxes, resolving any contests to the will, and distributing all assets to their proper beneficiaries. When the court sees that the executor completed all of their responsibilities, the process can end and the estate can be closed.

Contact Our Firm

If you have been assigned as an executor and are required to take care of an estate, contact Velasco Law Office today.

Juan C. Velasco, Esq. is a trusted attorney who concentrates on bankruptcy, family law, real estate, and estate matters who has been serving the New Jersey area for over 25 years. If you are in need of experienced legal counsel, please contact Velasco Law Office and we will be happy to assist you.