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Document checklist: Are you prepared for probate proceedings?

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2023 | Estate Planning, Probate And Estate Administration

Everyone processes grief differently. But if you are a surviving family member or close friend named as the executor, administrator or personal representative of your deceased loved one’s estate, you may not have much luxury of time to sort out your emotions as you must simultaneously confront an extensive probate paperwork. But if you prepared ahead of time, you might just reduce the time you must toil over enforcing the decedent’s wishes.

Processing probate documents

After the submission of your deceased loved one’s will and death certificate, as well as the corresponding Texas court validation, you, as the executor, take over the probate process.

Before your court appearance, you can use the time to alert all the heirs, beneficiaries and other creditors with financial interests in the estate. Then, you could also manage inventory and appraise all assets, pay off all outstanding debts and settle tax returns. Lastly, you may begin the distribution of assets, which do not require court approval.

Aside from the will, if it exists, and the death certificate, you must also be ready with the following documents:

  • Real estate deeds
  • Revocable living trusts
  • Bank account statements
  • Pre- or postnuptial agreements
  • List or receipt of current bills
  • List or receipt of debts and loan agreement contracts
  • List or receipt of medical, funeral or burial expenses
  • List of all beneficiaries and their contact information
  • Appraisal valuations for high-value items (art, jewelry and other collections)

This checklist can go on, with more detailed tasks in between, depending on the unique circumstances of your case. Further, you may not quickly close the estate if there is substantial wealth under consideration, if there are disputes among involved parties regarding designations and asset distribution, or if the will is unclear or missing altogether.

Work smart and wrap it up

In an ideal world where families do not fight over the estate or there are no complex government laws over the management of a deceased’s estate, the probate court may not be necessary. But while you’re in the middle of probate reality, you can anticipate long months of filling out forms. To keep yourself from drowning in paperwork and committing a mistake, you can work smart by having a legal team as your ultimate guide through time-saving strategies.