WHAT IS PROBATE?
The process by which a Last Will and Testament is legally authenticated after the Testator’s death; to establish the validity of a will; or, if there is no will, the process to establish heirs to an estate.
WHAT DO I NEED TO GET STARTED?
In a normal situation, you will need the original will, a death certificate, names, and addresses of any beneficiaries of the will and some form of I.D. In situations where there is no will, you may also need to make arrangements for a bond.
DO I NEED AN APPOINTMENT?
No appointment is necessary. It is strictly first come first serve. Our office hours are Monday thru Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
You must sign in at the County Clerk’s Office in Room 108.
HOW MUCH WILL THE PROBATE PROCESS COST?
The fees to our office at the time of your appointment are fairly minimal. You will be charged $36.00 for your appointment fee, $11.00 for the first five pages of your will and $1.00 for each additional page for recording and $2.50 each for your letters of administration.
Note: If a bond is required, there will be an additional $11.00 fee to the County Clerk as well as a premium to your bondsman unless you are using a real estate bond.
When you file your Appraisement & Settlement forms, there will be a fee of $11.00 and when you file your Final Settlement to close the estate, there will be a fee of $11.00 (unless it is referred to a Fiduciary Commissioner).
HOW LONG WILL THE PROBATE PROCESS TAKE?
The initial visit to our office takes about twenty to thirty minutes. You then will have 90 days to complete the “Appraisement & Settlement” of the estate forms. You must have 1 of the 6.01 form and 1 of the 6.02 form completed.
Once this document is returned, there is a mandatory 60 day period that must lapse for anyone who may have a claim against the estate.
After the claims period has expired and if no creditor’s claims are pending, you then can close the estate by either filing a “Waiver of Final Settlement” or by preparing a “Final Accounting”. Both of these documents can be obtained from our office.
If your estate has been referred to a Fiduciary Commissioner, then the process will take an additional 30 days.