Formal Probate

Formal proceedings are commenced by filing a Petition for Probate and/or Appointment of Personal Representative (PC558) with the court. A hearing date is given and interested parties must be served with a notice of hearing. After the hearing, the probate judge will enter an order called Order of Formal Proceedings (PC569). This order will admit any will, determine who the heirs of the deceased may be and appoint a personal representative. Once this is accomplished and the personal representative qualifies by filing an Acceptance of Appointment and any required bond, the personal representative will proceed with unsupervised administration until the estate is ready to be closed.

As part of the formal proceeding, the petitioner may request supervised administration. Supervised Administration may be requested at any time during estate administration. Supervised administration should not be granted automatically upon request. In cases of no will or where a will is silent on whether the estate should or should not be supervised, necessity must be shown before supervised administration is granted as part of the entry of the Order of Formal Proceedings. In all requests for supervised administration, the court must decide (1) whether the decedent left a will and its validity, (2) the personal representative's priority and qualifications to serve, and (3) the heirs of the decedent. If supervised administration is granted, the personal representative unless otherwise ordered by the court, will proceed with the same powers as a personal representative who is not supervised with the notable exception that a supervised personal representative may not make any distributions without court order. The responsibilities of the personal representative are greater since they are required to file with the court and serve upon interested persons additional documents.

Filing Fee

  • $175 (Non-refundable filing fee)
  • $12 certified copy of Letters of Authority

Documents listed are the forms used in the "normal" or "usual" administration of estates. There may be times where unusual circumstances exist and different forms may be necessary. Forms followed by an * may or may not be needed depending on the facts. These forms are used in the commencement of a formal estate only and additional forms may be required during the administration of the estate. There may be additional duties of the personal representative that do not involve the Court.


The original Will and Codicil(s), if any, must be included with the petition at time of filing.

A copy of the death certificate of the decedent must be included with the Application at time of filing.

Hearing Date: Upon the filing of the petition, you may obtain a hearing date from the Court. Typically a hearing date is set at least 2 to 3 weeks after the date of filing.

Service: It is the petitioner's responsibility to ensure that proper and timely service is made on all interested parties. If proper and timely service is not made on all interested persons, your hearing may be adjourned and/or your petition dismissed.

Service for hearings must be completed at least 14 days prior to the hearing date if by mail and at least 7 days prior to the hearing date if served personally. A proof of service must be filed with the Court at least the day prior to the hearing.

Filing: It is recommended that the documents be brought to the Probate Court office by the petitioner for filing. Filings may be completed by mail, however, there may be a delay in filing if your documents are not complete or correct. If filing by mail, include a self- addressed stamped envelope for return of documents to you.

Keep copies of all documents filed with the Court for your records and to provide to the interested persons. Copies obtained from the Court are $1 per page.