The Probate Process


Welcome to LawShelf’s video-course on the probate process. This course focuses on the steps necessary to administer the estate of a deceased person, from the initial steps to be taken immediately after death through the closing of the estate.

This is an intermediate level course and taking LawShelf’s video-course on Wills before this one is recommended unless you have some education or experience in this area.

The course opens with the documents to be gathered immediately after death, including the death certificate and will. We’ll also focus on when probate is necessary, as many types of assets, such as those jointly held, do not require probate. We’ll also discuss the various types of administration proceedings that are necessary, depending on the nature of the estate.

Module 2 starts with the probate process, including preparing the petition and determining who can seek appointment as estate administrator. We’ll also look at the process by which the probate court can gain jurisdiction over the estate, as by notice and waivers or hearing. We’ll also discuss the role of the guardian ad litem in the case of a minor or disabled beneficiary.

Module 3 turns to the estate administration process. We’ll start with the preliminary steps and then move to identifying and gathering the estate assets. These steps include valuing the assets and preparing an inventory and, later, an accounting. We’ll also look at dealing with creditors of the deceased.

Module 4 looks at problems in estate administrations: specifically, disputes and will contests. We’ll look at grounds for will contests and the effects of “no-contest” clauses. We’ll also discuss the spousal elective share and community property issues, along with disputes between the estate and beneficiaries, creditors and taxing authorities.

The final module looks at the responsibilities of the administrator, compensation and remedies for abuses. We’ll then look at setting up testamentary trusts. Finally, we’ll discuss the final accountings and affidavits necessary to close out the estate.

This course will give you a comprehensive overview of the probate process and enable you to better comprehend and assist in its details.

Best of luck and we welcome your feedback.

What is a video-course?

A LawShelf video-course is an in-depth series of presentations on a discreet legal topic. LawShelf video-courses focus on practical legal information and applications and are each designed to familiarize the viewer with a legal topic quickly and efficiently.

Who should take a video-course?

Our video courses are designed for professionals such as attorneys, paralegals, corporate officers and financial professionals, as well as laypeople looking to deepen their knowledge of particular areas of law. The courses allow you to acquire the specific knowledge and skills that you need without the expense and time commitment of going “back to school” for a degree. 

How do I learn?

Video courses are divided into 5 or 6 modules.  Each module contains a video lesson (usually about 15 minutes long) and a series of self-test questions that you can use to practice and make sure that you understand the material.

How do I complete a video-course?

To complete a video-course, you must pass a 10-question multiple-choice examination by scoring 70% or higher.  The questions on the exam are randomly selected from the self-test question sets for the various modules. You can retake an exam as many times as you need to, though you will not get the same questions each time since the questions are drawn from an exam bank.

How long will it take me to complete a video-course?

Between watching the modules, doing the self-test practice questions, reviewing the material and taking the final exam, we estimate that completing a video-course requires a time investment of 4-5 hours.  The courses are designed to get straight to the point. We’re cognizant that your time is valuable, and we condense the information you need to know to comprehensively cover a subject into as little time as practical.

Is there limit to how many video-courses I can take or complete?

No. A LawShelf subscription enables you to access any and all LawShelf content, including all video-courses. You can take courses as quickly or slowly as your time allows.

Do I receive any recognition for completing a video-course?

Once you complete the course by passing the final exam, you will be awarded a digital badge to display as evidence of your training and accomplishment.

How will a digital badge help me? 

Modern educational trends are moving away from traditional classroom-based course completion models and towards skills-based education. Employers today care more about skills than ever before. LawShelf digital badges conform to the Open Badge standard and are verifiable records of your skills that can easily be shared online.

How long do I retain access to the course materials?

You retain access the modules and take the final exam as long as you are a subscriber to LawShelf.

When and Where to Bring Probate Proceedings - Module 1 of 5

The Probate Process - Module 2 of 5

Administering the Estate - Module 3 of 5

Resolving Disputes - Module 4 of 5

Fiduciary Duties and Wrapping up the Estate - Module 5 of 5

Final Exam only needs to be taken by those seeking to earn the Digital Badge credentials for this course.