The Four Parts Of The Probate Process

Are you about to go through probate after a loved one passed away? If so, you'll want to know the following four parts of the probate process.

Petition and Notices

The probate process will begin once a petition is filed with the local court system in the county where the person lived. The court will then set a date for the initial probate hearing, and all people that would have an interest in the estate should be notified. This includes relatives, beneficiaries, heirs, and creditors that are owed money. These people will be notified in writing so that there is proof that the notice was sent. 

First Hearing

There will be an initial hearing where the court will approve the personal representative of the estate. This is typically the person that was listed in the will as the executor if a will exists. If there is no will, the court will assign someone as the executor. This is often a close family member, such as a child or sibling of the deceased person if they are of legal age. It is possible that an executor listed in the will does not want the responsibility, and it can be assigned to another person. It is also possible for someone to contest the appointment of the executor. 


Once the executor is selected, the executor is allowed to access estate assets and administer the estate. This includes gaining access to bank accounts, property, and other assets that they would not normally have access to. They have the responsibility of collecting all assets that would be subject to probate. An inventory of all assets must be made and submitted to the court. 

The executor will also figure out what debts the deceased person had, and then notify those creditors of the death. This is an important part of the process because all debts and taxes must be paid before anything can be distributed to heirs. 


A petition for final distribution will be filed with the court, which will then require another hearing to be held. Detailed accounting will be presented to make sure that legal requirements were met to appropriately administer the estate, and then approval will be given to distribute assets to the heirs of the estate. 

About to go through the probate process and feel a bit confused? Consider working with a probate lawyer that can help take care of the legal aspects of it for you. 

Contact a probate law office for more information.