ContractsCounsel Logo

Probate Court

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 7,612 reviews
Home Blog Probate Court

Jump to Section

Need help with a Will and Testament?

Post Project Now

Post Your Project (It's Free)

Get Bids to Compare

 Hire Your Lawyer

A probate court is a judicial branch of the US responsible for overseeing the administration of assets, conservatorships, and guardianships of deceased persons. The probate court ensures a will is carried out under the deceased person's instructions. It guarantees that all debts are settled and that assets are allocated fairly. The executor chosen to manage these things is normally subject to court supervision and must receive approval for their actions. Let us learn more about probate court in the blog below.

Steps Involved in Navigating a Probate Court

An estate of a deceased individual is administered legally through the probate court process. It entails confirming the validity of the decedent's will (if one is present), locating and valuing the assets, paying off debts and taxes, and then distributing the leftover assets to the beneficiaries or heirs. Here is a more thorough, step-by-step breakdown of how probate court works.

  1. Filing of a Petition: A petition is typically filed in the probate court to start the probate procedure. The will's executor normally files this petition, or if there is no will, an interested party. The petition contains details on the decedent, whether a will was present, and the petitioner's stake in the estate.
  2. Notifying the Parties: The court will notify all interested parties, including heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors, as soon as the petition is filed. Depending on the local regulations, this warning is often made through an official legal notice or publication. These parties are intended to be made aware of the probate procedure and their rights to take part in or assert claims against the estate.
  3. Appointment of an Executor: If the decedent left a valid will, the court will often choose the executor. The executor is in charge of overseeing the estate and executing the will's directives. The court will appoint an administrator to manage the estate if there is no will or if the designated executor cannot carry out their duties.
  4. Inventory and Appraisal: The estate's assets must be listed and valued by the executor or administrator. This could entail compiling financial records, contacting lenders, and getting evaluations for certain assets, including real estate or priceless personal goods. The inventory and assessment are meant to grasp the estate's assets and worth thoroughly.
  5. Taxes and Debts: The executor is responsible for locating and notifying the decedent's creditors. This entails publishing a notice to creditors and giving them a predetermined time window to file their legal claims against the estate. These claims are subject to assessment by the executor or administrator, who must also determine their legality before paying them with estate funds. The executor or administrator must also submit any required tax returns and settle any unpaid taxes the estate owes.
  6. Claims Duration: Creditors can present their claims against the estate during this time. The executor or administrator must thoroughly examine these claims before acceptance or rejection. If a claim is approved, the estate's resources will be used to pay the creditor. The creditor may be entitled to file a lawsuit to recoup the debt if a claim is denied.
  7. Distribution: Following the payment of all obligations, taxes, and legitimate claims, the remaining assets are given to the beneficiaries or heirs following the terms of the will or, in the absence of a will, the state's intestacy laws. The distribution must be done correctly and under the court's directives, and the executor or administrator is responsible for ensuring that happens. This could entail selling assets, giving out cash distributions, or changing ownership of assets.
  8. Final Accounting: An executor or administrator makes a final accounting of the estate's assets, liabilities, and distributions after the distribution is finished. This accounting gives a thorough record of every financial transaction involving the estate. The court is consulted and permitted to accept the accounting. The estate can be legally closed if the court approves and determines that the accounting is correct and comprehensive.

Cost Breakdown Associated with a Probate Court

Here are some typical costs related to probate court:

  • Court Fees: Most probate courts charge filing costs to start the probate procedure. These fees' amounts might fluctuate dramatically between states and even between various counties or jurisdictions within a single state.
  • Attorney Fees: It's standard practice to hire an attorney to help an individual navigate the probate process, particularly for more complicated estates. Depending on elements, including the attorney's experience, the complexity of the estate, and the services rendered, attorney fees can greatly vary. For their services, solicitors may either set hourly rates or
  • Executor Fees: These individuals have a right to payment for their work. State law or the will provisions normally decide the amount of this compensation. The executor or administrator may decide to forego their fee in particular circumstances or work out a new arrangement with the beneficiaries.
  • Valuation Fees: Fees for assessment and valuation services will be incurred if the estate includes items that need to be expertly appraised or valued, such as precious collectibles, businesses, or real estate. The complexity and value of the assets being valued might affect the fees charged by appraisers and other valuation specialists.
  • Publication Notice Fees: To alert creditors and other stakeholders about the probate proceedings, probate courts frequently demand the publication of a legal notice in regional newspapers. These publication charges may change based on the newspaper's rates and the quantity needed.
Meet some lawyers on our platform

Daehoon P.

159 projects on CC
View Profile

Gregory B.

138 projects on CC
View Profile

Connie C.

8 projects on CC
View Profile

Nicholas M.

9 projects on CC
View Profile

Why Hire a Lawyer for a Probate Court

The following are some benefits of employing a lawyer for probate court:

  • Legal Expertise: Probate rules and processes can differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and might be complicated. A lawyer focusing on probate cases can help an individual through the procedure and have a solid understanding of the relevant legislation. They may ensure that one will comply with all legal obligations, appropriately file the required documents, and adhere to deadlines.
  • Resolving Conflicts: Disputes between beneficiaries, creditors, and family members may occasionally arise during probate proceedings. A lawyer can assist in mediating and resolving these disputes, reducing the likelihood of expensive and time-consuming litigation. They can represent the individual's interests in court, negotiate on their behalf, and offer unbiased counsel if necessary.
  • Handling Complex Estates: The probate process can become complicated if an estate has complex assets, such as company interests, multiple properties, expenditures, or international assets. A lawyer with experience administering such estates can offer insightful advice on properly handling and distributing these assets.
  • Reducing Omissions: Inaccuracies or omissions throughout the probate procedure can cause delays, disagreements, or legal repercussions. By ensuring that the appropriate documents are properly created, filed, and served, a lawyer can assist in avoiding frequent mistakes. Their experience can speed up the probate procedure and reduce the chance of mistakes.
  • Legal Representation: Having a lawyer by one’s side can result in effective legal representation if any legal challenges or objections are presented during the probate process. They can represent an individual in court and argue the case while defending their rights and interests, if necessary.

Key Terms for Probate Courts

  • Beneficiary: An individual or organization eligible to acquire a proportion of the property.
  • Will: A legal document that specifies how a person intends to have their property transferred after passing away.
  • Bequest: A testamentary gift of personal property
  • Fiduciary: It refers to an executor, administrator, trustee, or private consultant who is in a position to accept as true the property of others.
  • Creditor: A person to whom money and capital are owed.

Final Thoughts on Probate Courts

A probate court is a specialized court that handles the felony method of managing a decedent's estate. A probate court's primary obligation is to supervise and streamline the criminal distribution of a decedent's property to their beneficiaries or heirs. The probate court has authority over various estate administration-related issues, including validating wills, choosing executors or administrators, handling claims from creditors, settling disagreements amongst beneficiaries, and ensuring the estate is appropriately managed and distributed.

If you want free pricing proposals from vetted lawyers that are 60% less than typical law firms, click here to get started. By comparing multiple proposals for free, you can save the time and stress of finding a quality lawyer for your business needs.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Lawyers

Robert M. on ContractsCounsel
View Robert
5.0 (1)
Member Since:
February 14, 2023

Robert M.

Free Consultation
2 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TN
Nashville School of Law

Robert is a sixth-generation Tennessean and part of a long line of Tennessee attorneys: There has been a Marks attorney in Tennessee since 1856. In 1929, Robert’s great-grandfather established an event venue, Shadowbrook, which Robert has worked at his entire life, including managing for 10 years. He knows what business owners are dealing with—especially venue owners—because he has dealt with it. While Robert loves the hospitality industry, he pursued his passion. In 2016, Robert decided to attend law school and continue managing the business. He thrived. He was a founding member of the Nashville School of Law's Legal Aid Society, received the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Law Student for Justice award, and interned with the Tennessee Supreme Court's Access to Justice Commission. Before co-founding Mercury Legal Group, Robert focused on estate planning in solo practice. In this role, he helped clients protect what they had spent a lifetime building. Now he helps his clients build their businesses by providing tailored legal services.

Faryal A. on ContractsCounsel
View Faryal
5.0 (49)
Member Since:
February 23, 2023

Faryal A.

Free Consultation
1 Yr Experience
Licensed in TX
University of Houston

Ms. Ayub is an attorney licensed to practice in Texas. Before moving to the US, she has a number of years of experience in contract review, analysis and drafting. Ms. Ayub is available to help you with your legal problems, as well as filling LLC and other business entity formation documents. To know more about her practice, please visit

O.T. W. on ContractsCounsel
View O.T.
5.0 (1)
Member Since:
March 8, 2023

O.T. W.

Free Consultation
Washington, DC
8 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MD, NY
Texas Southern University - Thurgood Marshall School of Law

Hi, my name is O.T. and I own The Walker Collective, a law firm that caters to the contractual, intellectual property, and business formation needs of creative entrepreneurs and small business owners. I am licensed to practice in Maryland and New York.

Jason H. on ContractsCounsel
View Jason
4.9 (6)
Member Since:
March 5, 2023

Jason H.

Managing Attorney
Free Consultation
Dallas, Texas
22 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TX, VA
Regent University, School of Law

Jason has been providing legal insight and business expertise since 2001. He is admitted to both the Virginia Bar and the Texas State Bar, and also proud of his membership to the Fellowship of Ministers and Churches. Having served many people, companies and organizations with legal and business needs, his peers and clients know him to be a high-performing and skilled attorney who genuinely cares about his clients. In addition to being a trusted legal advisor, he is a keen business advisor for executive leadership and senior leadership teams on corporate legal and regulatory matters. His personal mission is to take a genuine interest in his clients, and serve as a primary resource to them.

Moxie M. on ContractsCounsel
View Moxie
Member Since:
February 11, 2023

Moxie M.

Employment Lawyer
Free Consultation
Los Angeles, CA
13 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA, FL, OH
Stetson University College of Law

Lindsey has always been deeply invested in the power of knowledge; she was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio before making her way to Miami University for a dual Bachelor's degree. Afterward, Lindsey completed a Juris Doctor at Stetson University with an International Law concentration before earning a Health & Hospital law Certificate from Seton Hall School of Law. After graduating law school, Lindsey began her career as an associate at a Florida-based insurance litigation firm. She eventually transitioned to become a multi-year Rising Star in Employment Law by Super Lawyers as a labor and employment lawyer with Scott Wagner and Associates, supporting clients in Florida, California & Ohio with employment law matters. Her expertise covers counseling on workplace policies/handbooks; investigations into EEO discrimination/retaliation claims; wage disputes & wrongful terminations - equipping employees across multiple states for success in the ever-changing modern workforce landscape. Leveraging extensive knowledge of state/federal regulations gained from handling dozens of cases over many years, Lindsey has established herself as a leader in the field. Lindsey is a seasoned litigator, well-versed in the complexities of employer and employee disputes. She has represented clients on both sides during numerous mediations and provides an informed perspective when advocating for her clients' interests. She sharpened her dispute resolution skills by completing Harvard Law School's Negotiation Mediation course as part of their Executive Education Program as well as a Florida Circuit Civil Certified Mediator - making her qualified to mediate Circuit Civil cases in Florida as well as California and Ohio. Her breadth of knowledge provides valuable insight into the complexities each side faces while navigating their way through conflict mediation situations. With her varied expertise in the world of entertainment industry employment law, Lindsey has become a go-to source for Hollywood professionals, studios, and companies looking to make sure their legal considerations and entertainment contract law knowledge is up to date. From contract negotiations and employment advice to her outstanding knowledge of current regulations, she provides clients with everything they need for success both now and into the future. Lindsey dedicates her time and expertise to advancing the legal community. She proudly serves on the Executive Council for Florida Bar Association Labor and Employment Section, as well as with American Bar's Membership Outreach Committee in a leadership role. Lindsey is also an respected LA Magazine Editorial Board Member while Co-Chairing both LACBA CLE Event Dinner Committees - focusing on labor and employment law developments. Lindsey is passionate about providing accessible legal services to those in need. She serves on the Pro Bono Mediation Panel for the U.S Central District Court of California, volunteers as a mediator with California Lawyers for Arts and acts as Settlement Officer with Los Angeles Superior Court's ResolveLA program - all while donating her time towards resolving disputes through pro bono mediation at Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). Lindsey is a globetrotter, an outdoor enthusiast, and dedicated sports fan all rolled into one. While splitting time between California, Florida and Ohio she has the best of three world - from hiking trails to family gatherings there's always something interesting on her horizon! Plus with photography as a hobby Lindsey enjoys capturing life’s precious moments so they can be treasured for years to come.

Candace M. on ContractsCounsel
View Candace
Member Since:
February 24, 2023

Candace M.

Free Consultation
Prosper, Texas
24 Yrs Experience
Licensed in LA, TX
Loyola University

For over 20 years, as an attorney and real estate broker, Candace has used her passion for business and real estate to help her clients succeed as business owners, entrepreneurs Realtors, and real estate investors. She and her team go above and beyond to simplify and solve those issues which trouble her clients. From the simple to the complex, she is ready to help. Her experience includes, Real Estate law, Contracts, Business Formation, Business Operating AGreements and Entrepreneurial counseling.

Alan A. on ContractsCounsel
View Alan
Member Since:
February 25, 2023

Alan A.

Free Consultation
Austin, Texas
18 Yrs Experience
Licensed in OK, TX
University Of Oklahoma School of Law

I have dedicated my professional career and practice to Federal Government Procurement Law. My practice includes experience as an Army JAG who specialized in Government Procurement Law who represented contracting commands and requiring activities both deployed and in the United States and now as a civilian attorney who represents clients in all aspects of Federal Government Procurement Law. My clients are people and firms that are developing technology through the SBIR/STTR programs, OT's, and businesses using Small Business Administration (SBA) contracting programs.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now
Learn About Contracts
See More Contracts
other helpful articles

Quick, user friendly and one of the better ways I've come across to get ahold of lawyers willing to take new clients.

View Trustpilot Review

Contracts Counsel was incredibly helpful and easy to use. I submitted a project for a lawyer's help within a day I had received over 6 proposals from qualified lawyers. I submitted a bid that works best for my business and we went forward with the project.

View Trustpilot Review

I never knew how difficult it was to obtain representation or a lawyer, and ContractsCounsel was EXACTLY the type of service I was hoping for when I was in a pinch. Working with their service was efficient, effective and made me feel in control. Thank you so much and should I ever need attorney services down the road, I'll certainly be a repeat customer.

View Trustpilot Review

I got 5 bids within 24h of posting my project. I choose the person who provided the most detailed and relevant intro letter, highlighting their experience relevant to my project. I am very satisfied with the outcome and quality of the two agreements that were produced, they actually far exceed my expectations.

View Trustpilot Review

How It Works

Post Your Project

Get Free Bids to Compare

Hire Your Lawyer


Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call

Find lawyers and attorneys by city