Filing for probate after the coronavirus pandemic
Going through the probate process while grieving a loved one is challenging and painful. Doing it while also adjusting to life after a global pandemic seems almost unbearable. You might be tempted to curl up under the covers and just wait until this new normal fully settles in.
But if you are managing the estate of a loved one, we strongly recommend that you take the necessary steps to file for probate as soon as possible.
We’ve been following courts around the country and can help you figure out how to move forward with the probate process right now.
The probate process
Let’s start with how probate works. The probate process can vary state by state but follows a relatively straightforward path wherever you are.
- Petition the court to become the legal representative of the estate
- Notify heirs and debtors
- Change legal ownership of assets from the deceased individual to the "Estate of [The Deceased]"
- Pay funeral expenses, taxes, and debts
- Transfer assets to heirs
- Notify the court of your actions and close the estate
Our article on the probate process provides a more detailed explanation of each step in the process. The time required and cost of probate vary depending on your location and the size and complexity of the estate. In general, probate takes at least three months but could take a year or more. The average cost to probate a simple estate is between $3,000 and $7,000.
The probate process following the coronavirus pandemic
The probate process itself has not changed, but some of the recent events may have changed the details of engaging with the probate court or a probate attorney, such as offering a greater acceptance of online hearings and e-filing.
Probate court hearings can be held remotely with official phone conference systems, like TeleCourt and CourtCall. Remote hearings--despite the circumstances that led courts in this direction--have proven to be highly beneficial to customers that would have to travel a significant distance to their hearings.
However, if the probate court you are dealing with schedules an in-person hearing and you are still concerned about attending because of the coronavirus, we recommend that you request a remote hearing instead.
With many attorneys still effectively working remotely, others may not be able to provide adequate assistance. Fortunately, most probate cases don’t require an attorney, and people handle probate cases without an attorney everyday. Because all of our interactions with you occur digitally, EZ-Probate has continued to operate as usual with ready-to-sign probate forms and instructions so you can quickly probate an estate.