How to File a Petition With the Probate Court

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A probate court follows procedures that are a bit different from those utilized in both the general civil court and the criminal court. If you need to bring a case in probate court--filing a will after a family member dies, for example--you need to familiarize yourself with these procedures. Specifically, in regard to pursuing a probate case you must understand how to file a petition with probate court. The petition is the official document that starts a probate case in the first instance.

Step 1

Obtain a form petition for probate from the court clerk. In most jurisdictions around the United States there is a unified court system. In other words, all courts--criminal, civil, family, probate and so forth--are part of a common system with one clerk's office. However, there remain some locations that do not have this type of unified system. In such a situation, there is a specialized probate court clerk's office.

Step 2

Complete the form petition. A petition form from the court clerk typically is easy to complete. Moreover, the court clerk can provide probate court guidelines to assist you in completing the petition for probate.

Step 3

Add a "verification" to a probate petition. The Uniform Probate Code (and similar laws) requires a petition filed in probate court be verified. Verification language reads:

"The undersigned hereby verifies on her oath that the above and foregoing petition for probate is true and correct to the best of her knowledge and belief."

Step 4

Execute the probate petition (including the verification) in front of a notary public. The law requires that this type of court document be notarized.

Step 5

Contact the court clerk's office and find out the fee charged to file a petition for probate. The fee varies from one probate court to another.

Step 6

Go to the court clerk's office with the petition for probate and keep at least one copy for your records.

Step 7

Give the original petition and the filing fee to a staff member from the clerk's office. Provide at least one extra copy to be "filed stamped" for your records. The clerk places a time stamp on the document that indicates when you filed the petition for probate.

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About the Author

Mike Broemmel began writing in 1982. He is an author/lecturer with two novels on the market internationally, "The Shadow Cast" and "The Miller Moth." Broemmel served on the staff of the White House Office of Media Relations. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and political science from Benedictine College and a Juris Doctorate from Washburn University. He also attended Brunel University, London.

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