Although this can vary greatly depending on the nature of the estate, the probate process generally contains the following elements:

  • A person (often someone named in the will) appears before the court and is officially appointed Personal Representative of the estate
  • The Personal Representative “opens the estate” by filing the original will or verifying that no will existed
  • The Personal Representative notifies beneficiaries and family members that the estate has been opened
  • The Personal Representative discloses to the court everything that the person owned at the time of death, and how much it was worth
  • The Personal Representative posts a bond, equivalent to the value of the estate
  • The Personal Representative presents to the court annual accountings, showing all transactions in and out of the estate