Estate papers (called pleadings), the original Will, if any, and proper payment are presented together to the Court for review and appointment of the Personal Representative and/or probate of the Will. The initial Application must be signed by the applicant in the presence of a notary public and should include an original death certificate. Applicants must submit complete, accurate and truthful pleadings to the Court.
If, for any reason, the Court does not accept the filing, all payments and pleadings are returned to the applicant. Once the Court opens the probate case, no refunds are possible.
After the Judge signs the Order appointing the Personal Representative, the Court issues Letters Testamentary (cases where the decedent left a valid Will) or Letters of Administration (in cases where the decedent did not leave a valid Will). These Letters give the Personal Representative legal authority to conduct the decedent's estate business.
Examples of actions that are the responsibility of the Personal Representative include:
Legally changing the title to real property owned by the decedent into the name of the new owner(s).
Legally changing the title to personal property owned by the decedent into the name of the new owner(s).
Distributing assets to heirs or devisees.
Filing decedent's income taxes and estate taxes, if necessary.