A Short Introduction to Vermont Probate Court
Vermont Probate Courts are venues intended primarily to help individuals who stand to inherit the estates of recently deceased relatives or loved ones, to help facilitate adult guardianships and adoptions, and to oversee various other minor legal procedures, such as name changes. However, though they are intended to help individuals, this is far from their reputation. Sadly, most individuals see Vermont Probate Court as a place that keeps them from their rightful money or that sticks them with governmental red-tape when they try to do a good deed. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. A little understanding of Vermont Probate Courts helps to transform them from antagonists in your public life to a helping force in your life.
Estate Procedures in Vermont Probate Courts
The heirs of a person who has recently died should contact the Vermont Probate Court in the county in which their relative died as soon as possible to open their estate and begin probate procedures. Affairs differ greatly depending on whether the deceased had created a will, so take note of this first.
If the deceased did have a will, then file a Petition to Open a Testate Estate with the Vermont Probate Court. Testate just means with will, and you can find the form. You’ll need signatures from all the interested parites, as well as a copy of the death certificate, a copy of the well, and payment for an entry fee.
In the will, the deceased should have named one person as the executor of their estate. This executor will carry out the many provisions of the will once it is judged valid by the Vermont Probate Court. The executor is not officially the executor until they receive what are called the Letters Testamentary from the Vermont Probate Court making it official.
Intestate Estate Procedures in Vermont Probate Courts
A different form will be needed to open an estate without a will, or an intestate estate, with the Vermont Probate Court. It is called the Petition to Open an Intestate Estate. A copy of the death certificate and an entry fee will also be needed.
From there, the Vermont Probate Court will appoint a member of the family as a dependent administrator. The position is similar to that of executor, but there are many more restrictions on what the administrators can do without the Probate Court’s permission. This slows down matters considerably, which is the main reason that intestate procedures take so long to finish, usually at least a year.
Legal Guardianships with Vermont Probate Courts
Individuals can also be recognized as legal guardians by the Vermont Probate Courts. These guardians can be of minors, or of adults unable to take care of themselves because of physical or mental incapabilities. For child guardianship you will need the following form