Most wills are probated without a contest from any source. This website attempts to point out in a straight-forward manner exactly what will be included in an uncontested probate, and what will be required of you.
BASIC SERVICES IN A FLAT FEE PROBATE:
- Review of Decedent’s Will to insure validity and to determine what will be required to allow the court to admit it to probate;
- Meet with proposed executor to gather information required to make application for probate;
- Preparation of Application for Probate;
- Filing of application and original of Will with Court;
- Publication and posting of the probate application;
- Creditors are given notice of the death and are given an opportunity to make claims against the estate;
- Setting a hearing on application to probate the will in the probate court;
- Court appearance and presentation of evidence in support of application;
- Prepare and file proof of facts, oath of executor and order admitting will to probate;
- Hand carry oath of office of INDEPENDENT executor and present to a clerk of court authorized to issue letters testamentary;
- Order and supply to executor the letters testamentary;
- Work with executor to prepare an inventory of items belonging to the estate;
- Filing of inventory with the Court and accounting for all assets and debts of the estate;
- Confer with survivors and /or family as requested by executor or executrix to determine if other special legal needs exist.
“UNCONTESTED” (basic services) for purposes of this presentation assumes there are no questionable circumstances or conditions (i.e. mental capacity, undue influence, copies of wills, etc). Further it assumes that the estate has sufficient and liquid funds to pay all debts and claims against the estate and to pay all expenses of administration. Flat fees are not available in taxable estates, estates with property outside the United States of America. Flat fee assumes the client will handle all claims against the estate. Because the proceeding involves less court involvement, this means less attorney’s fees and costs to you. The personal representative does not need court approval for all actions, saving the estate on fees and expenses.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF AN INDEPENDENT EXECUTOR
- Collect all the assets of the deceased person’s estate, and safeguard them. This includes car titles, jewelry, keys to homes and safes, and bank cards. Place all of this information in a safe place where no one will have access to it. Remember, as an executor, you can be held liable for anything missing from the estate.
- You must send a notice to all creditors. If available, you will use liquidated money from the estate to pay any remaining creditors. The best way to ensure all creditors are paid is to request a credit report and the creditors a copy of the death certificate. This will provide the creditor notice of the death, at which point they will send you a final bill. Pay the bills if they are accurate, but if they do not seem valid, challenge the claim.
- You must notify all insurance companies and public agencies of all insurance accounts, social security information, and notify these entities of the death. Most will also require a copy of the death certificate. If the deceased person has a widow, be sure and specify their information to the social security office for surviving spouses’ payment.
In a flat fee probate of a will you will be able to proceed without any surprises or unintended costs, while you are suffering the loss of a loved one.