My mom just passed away and I was wondering as executor of her Will what steps do I need to take in order to get the legal process done?

UPDATED: Nov 6, 2014

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My mom just passed away and I was wondering as executor of her Will what steps do I need to take in order to get the legal process done?

Also, since her estate has very little to no equity whether or not we need to use the 401k/life insurance to pay off her bills to keep it from going to probate?

Asked on November 6, 2014 under Estate Planning, Colorado


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Was there a designated beneficiary for the 401(k) and for the life insurance?  If there was some one named as beneficiary then the proceeds pass outside of probate and are not part of the estate.  If there was no one named then they are deposited in to the estate and then bills are paid from them.  You generally start a probate by filing a Petition with the probate court in the county in which the decedent resided at the time of their death.    Notice is given to all those that would inherit.  If there is not much in the estate there is a Small Estate proceeding in every state to allow for ease of probate.  I would consult with a Probate Attorney before filing as to the facts of your case.  Good luck. 

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