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How do I do a Probate

Our Pocatello Probate attorneys have helped clients for over 70 years with their probate needs. We have the experience and knowledge to help you complete the steps in a probate for family and friends who have passed away. We are confident that we have the expertise to help you whether you are concerned about a small or a large estate. Our team of Probate Attorneys in Pocatello include partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson, and attorneys Nathan Palmer and Dave Bagley.

A probate is the process of paying the debts that a person owes when they die and taking care of and distributing any property and money. Probates are handled in different way based on the type of an estate a person has when they die. However, most estates that involve any type of land or are normal sized require 6 basic steps. These steps are:

1. Petition to Probate

Step number one is to file a Petition to probate. The Petition names the person who died and identifies the person who wants to be the Personal Representative or Executor. Additionally, the Petition names the heirs and beneficiaries of the decedent

Probate is required in Idaho even when the person who died did not have a written Last Will and Testament. If the person passed away and didn’t have a written will, the laws of Intestacy apply. The laws provide information about who can file the petition to probate. These laws also identify who can be appointed as the Personal Representative. More importantly, these laws identify how the person’s money and assets are distributed.

2. Personal Representative Appointment

Step 2 in an Pocatello Probate occurs when the Court to issues the written order. In the Order the Court specifically names and appoints a person as the Personal Representative.

Along with the order, the Court also issues official Letters Testamentary. These documents are 1 page and include an official court stamp. The Letters Testamentary identify the name of the Personal Representative so that anyone seeing the document will know that the person is officially authorized by the Court to administer the estate. With this proof institutions like banks provide access to the Personal Representative to the person’s accounts. The same is true of other institutions and businesses like hospitals, governmental agencies, insurance companies, and the like.

3. Inventory the Estate

With the appointment they received in step 2, the Personal Representative can complete step 3, which is to itemize and create an inventory of the money, property and assets owned by the decedent. This list is written and is provided as information to the heirs and beneficiaries so they will understand what the estate contains. Creating the written inventory doesn’t meant that every little items be counted. You don’t have to count every knife, fork and spoon. Rather, categories such as “household and person affects” and “vehicles” and “real estate” are the type that are.

4. Publishing Notice to Creditors

Step 4 is giving notice to creditors through publishing. Because there may be unknown creditors of the estate, these creditors must be given an opportunity to make their claims to be paid. Unknown creditors are often impossible to identify or contact. To give unknown creditors notice of the passing of the decedent and the need for them to file their claims, the Personal Representative publishes a Notice to Creditors in a newspaper where the probate has been filed.

Idaho’s law on publishing a notice requires the notice to be published once a week for three weeks in a row. After it is published, the law gives these creditors 4 months from the date of the first publication to bring their claim. When an unknown creditor doesn’t file their claim within this time their claim lost. The purpose of providing this mechanism is to give creditors a chance to be paid and to protect the estate from either bogus claims or from a claim being made years down the road after probate is done.

5. Resolving Creditors’ Claims

Step 5 in the Pocatello Probate process is to review and resolve any claims that were made. There is no requirement that all claims made against an estate have to be paid. Rather, the personal representative is still required to protect and preserve the decedent’s estate. To accomplish this, the personal representative should review and scrutinize every claim made against the estate. When there is not enough proof that the claim is legitimate, the personal representative should challenge the claim.

When a personal representative challenges or denies a creditor’s claim the creditor now has to pursue his claim in court. This process allows a judge to review the creditor’s claim and his evidence. The judge then makes a determination about the validity of the claim and whether it must be paid.

6. Distributing Property and Closing the Probate

The sixth and final step is distributing the property. Distributions are done based on the language in the written will or if there is none, by the instructions set forth in the intestacy statutes. The personal representative then actually delivers physical possession of the property, or makes a payment from the money of the estate. It may also require the personal representative to sign and issue a deed of title of ownership for land or a vehicle.

After the assets, property and money of the estate are distributed, the personal representative then petitions the court to close the estate. This last step is important because it gives statutory protection to the personal representative by limiting any additional claims to be made within 6 months. Any claims made after this time are simply rejected.

Enlist a Pocatello Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

We are confident that we can help you. If you have a family member or close friend who needs help with a Pocatello Probate we can help. We are available to answer your questions and discuss your concerns at an initial consultation. Call us toll free at 877.232.6101 or 208.232.6101 for a consultation with the Racine Olson team of Probate attorneys in Pocatello. You can also email us directly at We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Pocatello Probate problems.

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