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General Info Resources About Probate & After

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Ok.. this is kinda maddening..

There are loads of sites offering info on "How To" administrate a will, the probate process (which varies from state to state and country to country...) executorship.. etc., but very little info on what to save after said administration and probate is complete.

(I'm beginning to think.. no one really knows or those who do... don't wanna tell us. lol We've already been through some of the worst.. I think we can take this. So they should just Tell us already!)

I will plop links in here from time to time, as I find them, in regards to what to save document wise. Also if there are any general sites that cover loads of ground as far as estate administration and probate I will post those too.

My first one here has a link to each of the 50 US states' Laws regarding Estates & Probates:


This is the FAQ page from the IRS regarding Estate Taxes:

(don't forget to check out the "References and Related Topics" links at the bottom of the page.)


This is an excellent, in plain English, guide book of sorts for Executors.

"So You've Been Appointed Executor" by Tom Carter BA,MA, LLB from the Self Counsel Press. (This is in PDF.. but it is all there..)


The HTML version for those of you that don't have Acrobat Reader:


So those links I posted above here are good for when your are in the midst of probate & administrating an estate.

For afterwards???

I can't find anything "official" just yet.. but I will keep looking when I get a chance.

But I will offer you my own 2 cents as far as what seems logical to save afterwards.. if ya want it.. lol If ya don't.. skip the following. :)

Ok most obviously..

1) Death Certificates (raised seal originals)

If you have given them all away in the process of probate, contact your Funeral Home and ask them to get you another raised seal copy. Most will do this gratis.. otherwise there may be a small fee. But it is worth it.. so definitely obtain and retain a raised seal death certificate.

2)"Letters Testamentary" sometimes referred to as "Surrogate's Papers" etc.

(again must have a raised seal. I think very few if any people want an original raised seal of this document and a xeroxed copy usually suffices. But make sure you have at least one raised seal for yourself. I think I had to use two or three raised seals plus I needed one to keep for myself. I think the Surrogate's office charged $5 per raised seal original.)

This is a legal document from a Probate Court informing you of your appointment as executor/executrix of his or her appointment and empowering the executor/trix to discharge the appointed responsibilites.

3)A copy of the Will itself. (I think.. don't quote me.. but I think I had to surrender the original of the Will at the end of Probate.. or the beginning.. sometime during the process. In any event, the County Surrogate's office or Probate office would have an original on file at the end of the process. But make sure you have a xeroxed copy for yourself in the end. Our Surrogate officer was wonderful and offered to make copies right there for us. In general, I found these people to be very nice.)

4)Deeds: To any estate property still in your possesion and of course to any cemetary plots.

5) Vehicle Titles of those from the estate still in your possesion. (We donated Mom's car.. So the people we donated it to got the Title and I got a receipt. So I am keeping that receipt as well as the receipt for the License Plates we turned in to the Motor Vehicle agency.)

Ok now.. maybe Not so obviously what to save:

6) The decedents income tax return copies for, at the least 3 years and at the most 7??? I'm guessing here...

7)Their bank statements for at least 3 years. (My hub thought this made sense to keep if we ever needed to show that Mom didn't gift us anything.)

8)The Estate Account statements.... for like ever.. I think.. I dunno. lol

Depends on how easily the estate/probate went I think. If you have some angst or questions in your family.. I would just hold on to them indefinitely. As that is an easy way to show your accounting & administration of the Estate funds.

9)Utility bills of the decedent:

I would save those until you have closed out their accounts with each utility. Then I would only save the "closeout" bill or statements.

10)I would keep their Social Security cards for at least three years as well.

Well, that's all my poor brain can think of right now. But if I do find any more official articles or any good info on what to save.. I'll post them.

Hope this helps


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