Petition for Probate
In addition to lodging the Will, if applicable, the Petition for Probate is one of the initial documents required to open a Probate case. The Petition for Probate form can be very confusing and should be read over very carefully. It is important to gather as much information as possible before initiating Probate as after review of all the decedent’s property a Probate case may not even be necessary. However, if you determine that the value of the decedent’s estate is over $150,000 a Probate case can typically be initiated.
The Petition for Probate includes the decedent’s information including their full name, date of death, location of death and any alias they may have used and all beneficiaries or heirs and their relationship to the decedent with their names, addresses and their spouse if the heir predeceased the decedent. You will need to know the value of the estate which includes the decedent’s houses, vehicles, business interests, jewelry, bank accounts, retirement accounts, stocks, bonds and any other investment accounts. You will need to indicate if the decedent died with a valid will and indicate if a bond is required or if the bond will be waived. If the bond is going to be waived the heir and beneficiaries will all need to sign a document that waives the requirement of the bond. The name of the Petitioner will need to be included and list the proposed Administrator or Personal Representative. You should ensure that you have included as much information as possible, review the document, sign it, and review your Court’s local rules to make sure you include all documents needed to being the Probate process.
Typically the Petition for Probate will be filed along with a Case Cover Sheet, the filing fee, a Notice of Petition to Administer Estate and a Notice of Hearing. The Clerk of the Court will file the Petition for Probate and write the hearing date on the Notice of Hearing. Also included is the Duties and Responsibilities form which lists all of the duties and responsibilities of the Personal Representative. You must ensure that you agree with all of your duties before you sign the document. You will also include a Confidential Supplement to Duties and Liabilities of Personal Representative which includes the name, date of birth and driver’s license information of the Personal Representative. This is a confidential document and will not become part of the public record.