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An overview of the probate process

On Behalf of  | Feb 28, 2022 | Estate Planning

The death of a loved one often carries wide-ranging challenges for the family members they leave behind. In addition to dealing with their grief and adjusting to life without this person, families must also settle the estates of deceased loved ones.

Understanding the steps that they have to take may help smooth the process for those who must settle the affairs of their recently deceased family members.

Present to court

According to the Morris County Surrogate Court, probating a will describes the legal process used to establish the authenticity of a will. Those responsible for the affairs of deceased loved ones will initiate the process in person, online or by mail. They will have to submit certain documents to the court, as well as pay the court costs. If self-proving, the court generally moves forward expeditiously with probating the will. If not, however, one of the documents witnesses must provide proof of his or her signature to the court.

Documentation to bring to court

During the probate process, those handling the estates of the departed must provide specific documentation to the court. To this end, they will need to provide a certified copy of the death certificate with a raised seal. Additionally, they will provide the decedents’ original wills. If they cannot locate the original will, it will require formal proceedings through the superior court to admit it to probate.

Along with the death certificate and will, people probating the wills of deceased family members will also provide the court with the names and addresses of all the decedent’s next of kin.

Probate notice

According to the Morris County Surrogate Court, upon probating a will, the court will appoint an estate executor or administrator to carry out the remainder of the process. Within 60 days of probate, the appointed executor will serve notice to all the interested parties. The notice should include a copy of the will, as well as their names and addresses as the executors. The executors will then turn to the business of determining, marshaling and distributing the assets of the estates.

No one wants to make their deaths harder on their loved ones. Having the necessary documentation in place and informing their family members of where to find their files may help ease the probate process, so their families may focus on healing and moving forward.


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