What is Needed to Start the Process?

Before consulting with an attorney, you should be prepared to advise the attorney as fully as possible of the nature and extent of decedent's assets, names and addresses of all heirs and beneficiaries, and whether or not decedent had a will. This often necessitates a diligent search through decedent's personal files and records, as well as any safe deposit boxes.

Many attorneys will also require a cost retainer to cover the initial expenses, including the filing fee, publication fee and any bond premium for the personal representative's bond. The attorney will then prepare and file the initial petition which is normally set for hearing within six (6) weeks, at which time the personal representative is appointed and probate proceedings are commenced.