As if the emotional roller coaster wasn’t enough, you’ve got more stress to handle. After your loved one passed, everyone had questions.

What happens to the house? What about the outstanding debts?

These concerns are natural to have. Often, one person must take the lead and deal with the deceased estate probate process.

If you’re going to execute your loved one’s will, then you’ll need to know-how. Read on for our beginner’s guide to the probate process.

What’s the Probate Process? Where Do You Start?

So, what exactly is the probate process anyway? Probate means the courts will supervise and help execute a deceased person’s will.

Probate is a necessary process and it will go into effect whether a will is present or not. That’s because the probate process helps pay your loved one’s debts. It also distributes assets to living descendants.

How do you get started?

First, you’ll need to file a petition to open probate of the estate with your local court. The individual who has the deceased’s will should attach it to the petition. You should also bring the deceased’s death certificate.

Once the court views the application, they’ll schedule a hearing. This hearing’s held to confirm the last will. Every beneficiary will get a notification about the hearing.

During the hearing, an executor will get appointed.

It’s their job to oversee the rest of the process.

Identifying and Collecting Assets

The executor must first identify, locate, and collect the deceased’s assets. While some assets will be obvious, you may have to do some hunting to find everything.

You can search through:

• Insurance policies

• Tax returns

• Other documents

• Your loved one’s properties

Often, there’s a lot of belongings that you won’t want to keep or distribute. Consider hiring an estate clean-up service, like the one provided on this site, for help.

Notifying Creditors and Determining Values

Next, you’ll need to value these assets. You’ll want to list everything’s value and provide the appraisals. Document everything in a written report. This report will get submitted to the court.

You’ll also need to contact any of the deceased’s creditors. You will take care of paying any debts and final bills with the estate money.

Distributing Inheritances

The final part of the process involves distributing the assets. First, you need to petition the court. Once approved, you can divide what’s left and give it to the beneficiaries.

Don’t start dividing the assets until you’ve gotten approval from the court.

The whole probate process takes about six to nine months.

Managing a Deceased Estate with Care

A loved one’s passing is difficult to cope with. On top of the emotional strain, one family member will need to manage the deceased estate. That involves identifying assets, notifying creditors, and distributing inheritances.

If you feel overwhelmed, then consider reaching out to a probate lawyer who can help.

Are you looking for more helpful ways to cope with your loss? Browse through our lifestyle section to see more of our latest content.