Search for a will, make sure it is valid/current.
Notify organizations with open accounts in the Deceased’s name of the death to help prevent fraud. Remember: cell phone, utilities, credit cards, checking accounts, etc.
Inventory the Deceased’s assets. Identify and notify heirs and interested parties to help understand the estate.
Contact the Deceased’s county probate court or an estate attorney to determine what proceeding (probate, small estate, etc.) is necessary.
Make sure you are formally recognized as the personal representative by the court. Once appointed, obtain several copies of the death certificate.
Collect the assets.
Serve notice of the death on creditors and heirs so they may file claims on the estate.Publish a notice in a newspaper of general circulation.
Investigate claims made on the estate to determine validity. Liquidate and transfer title of assets.
Complete an interim accounting to know the value of the estate and to know if there are funds to pay debts and expenses.
After all claims are received, pay the Deceased’s continuing bills and get releases verifying payments. Pay outstanding debts and valid claims on the estate (get releases).
Make a record of all payments, deposits, and distributions of the estate and file it with the court if necessary (called an accounting). Serve it on interested parties.
File the Deceased’s last tax return and pay taxes. File receipts with the court and wrap up any closing details of the estate.
File receipts with the court and wrap up any closing details of the estate.
If no objections are raised or sustained, distribute the rest of the estate based on the order of priority in the Deceased’s state’s probate code and/or the will.
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