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Home Self Help Close an Estate
Home Self Help Close an Estate
Close an Estate
These standard instructions are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice about your case. If you choose to represent yourself, you are bound by the same rules and procedures as an attorney.

  • How do I close an estate?
    • 1. Decide how you want to close the estate.
      • * When you are ready to close an estate, you can choose to close the estate formally or informally.

        * Closing an estate informally takes less time and paperwork because the court does not review or approve what you have done.  After you file your paperwork with the court, anyone who has an interest in the estate will still have one year to come forward if they disagree with anything you have done.  If you do not think there will be any problems or disagreements, you may want to use this option.

        * Closing an estate formally takes more time and paperwork because the court will review everything you have done and give final approval.  Everyone who has an interest in the estate will have the chance to come forward with any disagreements before the court approves what you have done.  Once the court approves what you have done, your responsibility ends right away.  There is no one-year period where people can come forward with disagreements like in the informal option.  If you think there may be problems or disagreements, you may want to use this option.

        * You must decide which option to use.  The court cannot make this decision for you.

        * If you are not sure of which option to use, you may want to talk to an attorney.

         

         

    • 2. If you decide to close the estate informally, follow these steps.
      • * The person who died is referred to as "the Deceased" or the Decedent.  You (the person in charge of the estate) are referred to as the Personal Representative.

        * You can file your paperwork to close the estate informally 6 months after the date that the court named you as the Personal Representative, or one year after the decedent died, whichever date happens first.

         

        STEP 1:  Download and complete your forms

        * Download and complete these forms:
           * JDF 965 Statement of Personal Representative Closing Administration
           * JDF 942 Interim/Final Accounting

        * For detailed instructions on how to fill out these forms, see JDF 959 Instructions for Closing an Estate Informally.

        * Check the "Final Accounting" box at the top of JDF 942 Interim/Final Accounting.

         

        STEP 2:  Mail or hand deliver a copy of your forms to all people who have an interest in the estate

        * After you fill out JDF 965 Statement of Personal Representative Closing Administration, mail or hand-deliver a copy to anyone who has an interest in the estate (the same people who got notice of your paperwork to open the estate).  After you mail or hand-deliver a copy, fill out the Certificate of Service part of the form before you file it with the court.

        * You also must mail or hand-deliver a copy of JDF 942 Interim/Final Accounting to the same people.  However, you do not need to file this form with the court.

         

        STEP 3:  File JDF 965 Statement of Personal Representative Closing Administration with the court

        * Take your completed JDF 965 Statement of Personal Representative Closing Administration to the clerk at the courthouse.  Give the form to the clerk to file the paperwork.

        * You do not need to file JDF 942 Interim/Final Accounting with the court.

        * There is no filing fee.

    • 3. If you decide to close the estate formally, follow these steps.
      • * The person who died is referred to as "the Deceased" or the Decedent. You (the person in charge of the estate) are referred to as the Personal Representative.

        * If you are the Personal Representative of the estate, you can file your paperwork at any time after the time period for bringing creditor claims has passed.

        * If you are someone other than the Personal Representative, you can file your paperwork one year after the court names a Personal Representative and after the time period for bringing creditor claims has passed.

         

        STEP 1: Download and complete your forms

        * Download and complete these forms:
        * JDF 960 Petition for Final Settlement
        * JDF 942 Interim/Final Accounting
        * JDF 964 Order for Final Settlement
        * JDF 730 Decree of Final Discharge
        * JDF 962 Notice of Hearing or JDF 963 Notice of Non-Appearance Hearing on Petition for Final Settlement
        * JDF 731 Receipt and Release

         

        * For detailed instructions on how to fill out these forms, see JDF 957 Instructions for Closing an Estate Formally.

        * Check the "Final Accounting" box at the top of JDF 942 Interim/Final Accounting.

        * Fill out only the top caption part of JDF 964 Order for Final Settlement and JDF 730 Decree of Final Discharge.  The court will fill out the rest.

         

        STEP 2: Mail or hand deliver a copy of your forms to all people who have an interest in the estate

        * After you fill out JDF 960 Petition for Final Settlement, mail or hand-deliver a copy to anyone who has an interest in the estate (the same people who got notice of your paperwork to open the estate).  After you mail or hand-deliver a copy, fill out the Certificate of Service part of the form before you file it with the court.

        * You also must mail or hand-deliver a copy of JDF 942 Interim/Final Accounting to the same people.  After you mail or hand-deliver a copy, fill out JDF 717 Certificate of Service and attach it to JDF 942 before you file it with the court.

         

        STEP 3: File your forms with the court

        * Take your completed JDF 960 Petition for Final Settlement, JDF 942 Interim/Final Accounting (with JDF 717 Certificate of Service attached), JDF 964 Order for Final Settlement, and JDF 730 Decree of Final Discharge to the clerk at the courthouse. Give the forms to the clerk to file the paperwork.

        * There is no filing fee.

         

        STEP 4:  Hearing

        * You need to set your case for a hearing or for a non-appearance hearing.  A "non-appearance hearing" is not an actual hearing date, and no one needs to show up to court. This is a date the court puts on the calender as a reminder to take further action.  Contact the court to find out which type of hearing is required, and to get a date for the hearing.

        *  When you have a date for a hearing (or a non-appearance hearing), fill out JDF 962 Notice of Hearing or JDF 963 Notice of Non-Appearance Hearing on Petition for Final Settlement and mail or hand-deliver a copy to all persons with an interest in the estate.  After you mail or hand-deliver a copy, fill out the Certificate of Service part of the form and then file it with the court.

        * You must mail or hand-deliver a copy of JDF 962 Notice of Hearing or JDF 963 Notice of Non-Appearance Hearing on Petition for Final Settlement to all persons with an interest in the estate at least 14 days before the hearing (or the non-appearance hearing) date.

        * After the hearing, if the court approves everything you have filed, the court will sign JDF 964 Order for Final Settlement.  You can then distribute all of the money and/or property from the estate based on what you told the court in JDF 960 Petition for Final Settlement.

        * After you give out all of the money and/or property from the estate, you will need to have each person who received something fill out and sign JDF 731 Receipt and Release and return it to you.  This is to show that each person received what they were supposed to get from the estate.  When you get all of these signed forms returned to you, file them with the court.

        * After you file all of the JDF 731 Receipt and Release forms with the court, the court will sign JDF 730 Decree of Final Discharge.  When you get this signed document from the court, it means that your responsibility has ended.

         

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