An estate is opened by filing a petition and other appropriate paperwork in the proper county. This petition is usually filed by the executor or administrator.
Once the estate is opened in probate it is conducted under “independent administration” which means the executor and administrator take most actions without getting court approval.
Once the will is admitted to probate, notice of the probate of the will is given. Not more than 14 days after entry of an order admitting or denying probate or appointing as executor, the petitioner must mail a copy of the petitioner and order to each of the testator’s heirs and legatees who are named in the petition. Notice is also published to alert creditors of the decedent. Within 42 days after the admitting the will to probate, each heir or legatee may file a petition to require proof of will by testimony of the witnesses to the will. In addition, each heir or legatee ay contest the validly of the will by filing a petition with six months after the date of the order admitting the will to probate.
An estate may be enclosed after being open for at least 6 months. Before the judge will close the estate, the representative must prepare a final account that lists assets, any income, amounts paid out for debts and expenses of the estate, and distributions made to beneficiaries. At the closing, the representative submits a final report to the court and gets receipts from the beneficiaries who received assets.