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Probing Probate: What You Should Know

Probate is a term that is used in several different ways. Probate can refer to the act of presenting a will to a court officer for filing — such as, to [more…]

How to Bypass Probate with Joint Tenancy

Joint tenancy means that you share ownership of property. Property held in joint tenancy isn’t part of the probate process; creditors don’t have access to property held as joint tenants. [more…]

How to Pay Living Expenses While Money's Tied Up in Probate

Your unanticipated death could create an immediate financial crisis for your family. Family allowance statutes enable the probate court to provide money for the support of your spouse and minor children [more…]

Does the Estate Need a Special Administrator?

A special administrator is a temporary fiduciary appointed by the probate court in many states to marshal and preserve the assets when a delay is foreseen in appointing a permanent fiduciary. This may [more…]

Does an Estate Need Ancillary Administration?

An estate requires ancillary administration if it has real estate subject to probate located in a state other than the decedent’s state of domicile. As executor of such an estate, you must have ancillary [more…]

Does an Estate Need a Guardian?

In some cases the probate court appoints a guardian for an estate’s heir to take care of the heir’s affairs and manage his or her assets. A common case is one where the decedent has died and the heir is [more…]

How to Decide between Voluntary Administration and Formal Probate

After you determine that an estate includes probate assets, you must decide whether you need the formal probate process to administer the estate or if voluntary administration is available to you. Voluntary [more…]

How to Petition for Probate of a Will

To start the probate process, you will need to petition for probate of the will. These guidelines can vary state by state. However, generally, the first step is to file the decedent’s will in the probate [more…]

Who Can Petition for Estate Administration when No Will Exists?

If the estate’s decedent dies intestate, without a valid will, you may need to file a petition to serve as administrator. Check the law in the state of the decedent’s estate to determine what type of estate [more…]

Who Administers Estates When Someone Dies or Needs Representation?

Estate administration includes several kinds of fiduciaries, people who administer the assets or property of another person. The type of fiduciary often depends upon the deceased's will and heirs. If an [more…]

What's a Probate Estate All About?

A probate estate is all the assets a person owns at his or her death that are subject to probate administration. Probate administration is the process of proving to a probate court that the will is genuine [more…]

Does the Estate Need a Temporary Executor?

You may need to apply for temporary executorshipif the estate plan documents show that the decedent’s estate has assets subject to probate that need immediate action. Temporary executorship can be achieved [more…]

How to Obtain Probate Court Approval of an Estate’s Accounts

Before you can close a decedent’s estate, you need to have your accounts allowed (approved) by the probate court. Check with your local probate court for the exact procedure for allowance of accounts. [more…]

How to Prepare Accounts for Allowance by a Probate Court

When preparing accounts for allowance, you will need to choose the accounting form used in your local probate court. Some states require principal and income accounting, and others require receipts and [more…]

How to Obtain Beneficiary Assent when Preparing Accounts for Allowance

In the process of closing the decedent’s estate, while preparing accounts for allowance by the probate court, you will need to obtain the assent (a form of written agreement to the account) of each interested [more…]

How to Prepare a Trust’s Final Accounting

Before terminating a trust, you as trustee will need to prepare a final account and obtain assent from all remaindermen. These are your last steps, usually completed after distributing the final income [more…]

Meet Probate Court and Tax Deadlines for Estates and Trusts

You must meet all probate court deadlines to avoid being removed as executor or trustee and to avoid fines or even jail sentences. File income tax returns, Form 1041, and estate tax returns, Form 706, [more…]

Handle an Estate’s Heirs, Legatees, and Beneficiaries Wisely

As the executor of an estate, interact with the estate’s heirs, legatees, and beneficiaries wisely and with care. Be sure to divide the estate’s personal property fairly among the heirs. Also be sure to [more…]

How to List a Decedent's Large Assets

When marshalling — locating and listing — a decedent’s assets, an estate administrator might begin with the largest assets: real estate and vehicles. Large assets will often be easy to find, but it is [more…]

When to File a Last Will with a Probate Court

As an estate administrator, you assume responsibility for the decedent’s will. You also decide whether probate court administration of the decedent’s assets is necessary. [more…]

Things to Remember When You're Writing Your Will

Basically, probate is the method by which your estate is legally transferred after you die. When planning your estate and writing your will, keep these tips in mind to help the probate process run smoothly [more…]

How to Take Small Estate Shortcuts for a Probate Estate

If your decedent’s probate estate (assets in his or her name alone, payable to the estate, or held jointly for convenience only) is of limited size, it may qualify for one of several small estate procedures [more…]

How to Perform Traditional Probate Proceedings

In many states, traditional probate proceedings can be supervised or unsupervised, and unsupervised can be formal or informal. Consult with an attorney experienced in probate matters in your state if there [more…]

How to Determine a Decedent's Domicile

Knowing where the decedent’s domicile (where the decedent had his or her primary residence) was at date of death is key when figuring out where you must probate the assets and what state you must pay taxes [more…]

Executor's Duty: Informing Surviving Spouse of Decision Rights

Surviving spouses may have some important rights to collect on and decisions to make with regard to the will and the decedent’s estate. There are a few important rights, allowances, and decisions the surviving [more…]


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