How to Do Probate On Your Own: Step-By-Step
Once you’ve decided on a DIY California probate, head over to A People’s Choice to quickly and easily start the process.
Step 1: Complete Our Quick Start Interview
A People’s Choice provides a Quick Start Interview that allows clients to submit their information before hiring our services. Not only does this kickstart the probate process, but it also provides a basis for our one-on-one phone consultation, should you require our assistance. Plus, filling out the Quick Start Interview helps you collect all the information necessary to complete your probate documents.
Step 2: Gather the Necessary Information to Prepare Initial Paperwork
Whether you’re working with an LDA or completing the probate completely on your own, you will need to gather the necessary information for filling out the court-required documents. For example, you will need to reference the following:
- the decedent’s will or trust;
- the executor’s, trustee’s, beneficiaries’, and heirs’ addresses and personal information;
- local court rules and probate proceedings; and
- the appropriate newspaper for statutory publication
Step 3: Locate, Complete, and File Petition and Other Documents
Once you’ve collected this information, you – with or without an LDA’s help – will need to prepare the appropriate paperwork based on the size of the estate. For example, a small estate will require forms such as the DE-310 (Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property). On the other hand, a large estate will require the DE-111 (Petition for Probate) and DE-150 (Letters). Note that these are only a few of several documents required for probate.
When you work with A People’s Choice, we provide you with all the documents necessary for your circumstances. Additionally, we ensure you are using the appropriate forms based on the specifics of the estate as well as the county in which you’re filing. However, if you would prefer to complete the probate completely on your own, you can usually find the necessary documentation on your local court’s website or at a local legal self-help center.
Step 4: Give Notice
Once you’ve filed the petition for probate, as the personal representative of the decedent, you have the responsibility of arranging for publication of notice to creditors. This publication should appear in the appropriate newspaper based on your location. Additionally, you must send notice of the hearing date to all interested parties.
A People’s Choice provides comprehensive assistance through this process, should you require it.
Step 5: Attend Hearing on Probate
Upon filing your petition for probate, you will receive a hearing date. On this date, you will attend court for a judge to oversee the probate process and ensure you are following the local rules. Then, they will sign all necessary orders and allow you to continue on with the probate process.
Step 6: Take Additional Steps to Complete the Probate Process
Even after the initial hearing, the probate process can take several months to complete. During this time, executors of estates have many responsibilities, including, but not limited to:
- making an inventory of the deceased’s property;
- paying outstanding debts;
- filing all required tax documents;
- listing gifts to beneficiaries; and
- keeping up a detailed accounting of all assets to be sent to all interested parties
Luckily, when you work with A People’s Choice, we have full service options to assist you throughout the entire probate process. These services include case management and additional support, should you require it.
Step 7: Attend Hearing on Petition for Final Distribution
After you have completed your executor duties, you will attend a final probate hearing. At this hearing, the judge will confirm that the inventory and accounting statements are accurate, and approve the final distribution. Additionally, you will distribute gifts or inheritance to beneficiaries or heirs. Then, at the end of the court appearance, you can submit a petition to close the estate.
Why Use A People’s Choice?
If you’re wondering how to do probate on your own, consider hiring a registered legal document assistant. A People’s Choice has over 40 years of experience assisting clients with probate. Plus, our Quick Start Interview provides a commitment-free opportunity to kickstart your probate.
Choose from either our full service or document-only packages for no surprise, flat fee rates. You can read some of our testimonials here; or, contact A People’s Choice today for more information on how we can help you with your DIY probate!
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