A couple filing for probate together after Covid-19

2 minute read

Filing for Probate After the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic adds another layer to end-of-life planning and the probate process. Here’s what you need to know.

Mitch Mitchell

Mitch Mitchell, @MitchMitchell

Product Counsel, Legal, Trust & Will

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. 

[Need help with probate? We offer helpful probate services and will work with you to find the plan that meets your needs. Learn more.]

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. Here’s a general outline of how the process works:

  • Petition the court to become the legal representative of the estate

  • Notify heirs and creditors

  • Retitle accounts of the deceased individual pay funeral expenses, taxes, and debts

  • Transfer assets to heirs or beneficiaries named in the Will

  • Notify the court of your actions and close the estate 

Our guide on the probate process provides a more detailed explanation of each step in the process and a general timeline. 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. 

Probate post-covid: what’s it like?

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 Covid-19 pandemic, we recommend that you request a remote hearing instead.

We hope this information is helpful and alleviates some of the stress of going through the probate process. Check out our guide to help navigate end-of-life planning during the pandemic.

Here at Trust & Will, we’re here to help you keep things simple. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific Estate Plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning options today!

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