How to Administer a Small Probate Estate

Administering a small probate estate is something that you can do on your own as long as you handle it correctly. The first thing you will need to do is take an inventory of the property of the deceased. In order to distribute the assets properly, you first need to know exactly what they had. Add up the value of all of the assets in order to come up with a total. At that point, you need to subtract from the number the total of the debts against the estate. Each state is going to have different requirements when it comes to small probate estate laws. If the amount is less than the maximum, you will be able to continue with the small probate estate process.

Death Certificate

The next thing you will need is to get a copy of the death certificate of the deceased individual. You are going to need a copy of the death certificate for a number of different procedures. In order to obtain a copy of the death certificate, you will need to contact the Vital Records office of the state in which the deceased was a resident. Most of the time, you will have to send them a request with a nominal payment for the processing fees. This process will typically take a few weeks to complete. 

File Forms

You will need to visit your local court system in order to file the appropriate paperwork to administer the small probate estate. Each court system is going to be different with the amount of paperwork that is required. You may also have to pay some type of a registration fee in order to accomplish this.

If the deceased had creditors, you should post a notice of the death in the newspaper. This way, the creditors will be able to find out that one of their clients was deceased and they can request the necessary payment on their account.

Transferring Ownership

At this point, you will need to take the necessary steps to transfer ownership of the assets in the estate to the beneficiaries. Be sure that you refer to the will of the deceased individual so that you can transfer the assets to the appropriate person. If you are dealing with monetary assets, you may want to transfer everything into a single bank account in the name of the estate first. This way, you can easily write checks for creditors and beneficiaries out of the account.

In order to transfer real property, you will need to go to your county recorder's office and provide them with a copy of the death certificate of the individual. You should then be able to transfer title to the proper individual. 

Social Security Administration

You will also need to notify the Social Security Administration that the individual has passed away. File a notice of death with them and they will send you a payment in order to help with final expenses.

blog comments powered by Disqus