Probating a Will
When someone dies, the person named Independent Executor must hire an attorney to file papers with the probate court to “probate” (prove up) the will. The person named Independent Executor must appear before the probate judge, show that they are qualified and not disqualified from serving, and then take the oath to serve after the judge has approved of him/her.
Within 30 days of being appointed Independent Executor, the attorney helps the executor publish a Notice to Creditors in a local paper and file the necessary Publisher’s Affidavit with the court. The executor must also notify beneficiaries and secured creditors and file proof with the court that they have done so. Finally, the executor must draft and share an Inventory of the estate with beneficiaries and confirm with the court that they have done so. If certain requirements are met, the executor can choose to keep the Inventory private and, instead of filing the Inventory in the court’s file, they can file an Affidavit in Lieu of Inventory. In the Affidavit, the executor states to the court that he/she completed the Inventory and shared a copy with the beneficiaries and that there are no debts owed by the estate.
This is the process of administering a living trust after someone dies. It is similar to probating a will in that it is the necessary process to carry out your wishes, but it is comparatively private. The Successor Trustee needs to hire an attorney to help them carry out the wishes set out in the living trust. They will need to make any outright distributions, set up any testamentary trusts, and carry out the other wishes set out. This may require a deed to put a home into the surviving spouse’s name or to deed real estate or mineral interests to another beneficiary.