An Executor’s First Step in Estate Administration; Probate of a Will

The passing of a loved one is difficult, and can be even more so if you are tasked with administering their estate. So you’ve been named as the executor in a friend or family member’s estate, what are your first steps?

First, you need to locate their original Will. Many people choose to store their original Will in a safety deposit box, a safe, or at the law offices of the attorney who drafted the document. Then you will need to file with the clerk of court an Application for Probate and Letters, an Oath and Affirmation, and a Family History Affidavit, if the decedent resided in Forsyth County.

The clerk of court will then issue Letters Testamentary which give you the authority to speak with financial institutions and begin to transfer assets of the decedent. I usually recommend that an executor set up an estate bank account to hold funds until they are ready for distribution.  The clerk’s offices publishes this helpful manual to assist in the estate administration process.

Beginning an estate administration in the correct way is important, and working with an attorney can help reduce stress for an executor. Regardless, it’s a good idea to educate yourself about the steps before you start the process.