If you are the executor of a small estate of a relative and have decided to navigate the probate court on your own without an attorney, then you will be pleased to learn that there are some things you can do to make the process a lot easier. Though you may need to retain a lawyer to help advise you about the proper actions to take to settle the estate, you can use these tips to help with the court process itself:
Tip: File the Probate Case in the Correct Court
While this may sound like a no-brainer, it is important that you locate the right court to file the probate case in. If your relative owned real estate or lived in a different county than you do, then you need to file the case where they resided or owned property. If you accidentally file in the wrong court, nothing detrimental to your case will happen except that the case will take longer to settle because you will need to change courts. Also, filing in the wrong court will have the additional costs of duplicated court fees. The court system assumes you know what you are doing when you file a case, and if you file in the wrong court, then they will not refund your fees. So, before you file your probate case, ensure that you are filing in the correct court.
Tip: Seek Out the Local Rules of the Court and Follow Them Exactly
Every court has a special set of rules and regulations that must be followed for every document that you submit known as the "local rules of the court." You can obtain the local rules of your probate court by visiting them in person or looking on their website online. The local rules will give you instructions about how to staple your documents together, how many copies of documents you must submit, and other important aspects of filing your case within their court. It is important that you follow the local rules of your probate court exactly as outlined. If you do not abide by these rules, then the court will reject your documents and require you to resubmit them following their published local rules.
Tip: Retain a Probate Attorney to Review Your Documents and Advise You
Finally, though you can successfully navigate the probate process on your own, it is always advisable to retain an attorney and have them review your documents before you submit them to the court. Having a probate attorney review your documents before submission will save you a lot of time and fees over filing documents incorrectly and having to re-file them again. Contact an attorney like David R Webb Attorney to learn more.