The probate process: 3 to 9 months after death
- Petition the appropriate court for probate.
- Place a legal notice in the paper to notify unidentified heirs and creditors. Contact named beneficiaries and known creditors directly.
- For example, if the decedent owned investment property, rents will need to be collected.
- This includes expenses, debts, and bequests (paid out in that order). Court permission may be required before writing checks through the estate account--keep meticulous records.
- The federal estate tax return is due nine months after the date of death. State filing deadlines vary, so check with the appropriate state agency.
- This is necessary to close the probate proceedings and relinquish the executor's duties.