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What Is a Letter of Testamentary?

The passing of a loved one can be a difficult time, especially when you need to get the deceased’s affairs in order. You have a lot of paperwork ahead of you, but most of these processes begin with a letter of testamentary.

What Is a Letter of Testamentary?

After someone dies, a probate court issues a letter of testamentary. This document proves you have the ability to act as legal executor for one’s estate. The letter and a legally binding death certificate are generally the credentials you need to perform transactions relating to banking, real estate, and asset distribution. Sometimes, banks and other institutions may request to keep your letter of testamentary, so having multiple certified copies is a good idea.

How to Get a Letter of Testamentary

A testamentary note is not available online. You must file the will, death certificate, and an application requesting the letter in probate court. The latter is typically a short form asking for an estimated value of the deceased person’s estate and a sworn statement that the person submitting the form is the same individual named as executor in the deceased person’s will.

The court will then schedule a hearing to verify your information and to make sure you meet state qualifications. The length of time it takes to receive the letter could take several weeks to several months, depending on the court’s schedule.

Letter of Testamentary Without a Probate Lawyer?

Numerous courts require a lawyer to speak with them at all gatherings petitioning for these letters. You may be able to utilize a small-estates affidavit to have some funds conveyed to beneficiaries, but this is only possible if you can distinguish the beneficiaries and discover observers to bear witness to their identities. However, you’ll likely still need a lawyer to prepare you and to record the affidavit with the court.

How Much Does a Letter of Testamentary Cost?

The costs for acquiring a Letter of Testamentary vary depending on the nature of the estate. You can acquire the exact cost for documenting a letter from the bank of the deceased. If the individual did not leave adequate funds to pay the court-filing expense, you will need to pay the charge from your own pocket. Be sure to reach out to a probate attorney for more information.