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Large Decedent's Estates (ADM) FAQs

Accounting Questions - After an accounting is filed, how do I find out which auditor has been assigned to the account?

Call the Duty Auditor at 202-879-9447 for the name and telephone number of the assigned auditor two days after the account is filed. The name of the assigned auditor is entered on the docket, which is available through the Court Cases Online.

Accounting Questions - After audit requirements to the account are submitted, how long does it take for the auditor to review the requirements?

Generally, requirements are reviewed within 2 weeks of submission. However, on complex matters or accounts with extensive audit requirements, the process may take longer.

Accounting Questions - Can I distribute to the beneficiaries before Court approval of the final account?

Yes. A personal representative may choose to distribute estate assets as soon as the personal representative is appointed. However, the personal representative is responsible if there are not enough assets to satisfy any valid remaining claims of creditors or to make proper distribution to estate beneficiaries. Otherwise, a personal representative may choose to wait until approval of the final account to make final distribution of the decedent’s assets.

Accounting Questions - How do I prepare an inventory?

Fill in the information on the inventory form and schedules, provide documentation in support of all transactions listed, and file at the Probate Division’s Duty Auditor station located at 515 5th Street, NW, Room 313, Washington, DC 20001. All inventories must be machine-printed or typewritten. Inventories may be filed by mail. The Probate Division offers seminars regarding how to prepare and file an inventory called Getting Started – Inventory Preparation. Call the Duty Auditor at 202-879-9447 for more information.

Accounting Questions - How do I prepare the accounts?

Fill in the information on the account form and schedules, provide documentation in support of all transactions listed, and file at the Probate Division’s Duty Auditor station located at 515 5th Street, NW, Room 313, Washington, DC 20001. All accounts must be machine-printed or typewritten. Accounts may be filed by mail.

Accounting Questions - How do you obtain extensions of time or permission to late file accounts and inventories?

File a motion that explains to the Court the reasons why you must file late. The Judge may, or may not, grant such a motion.

Accounting Questions - How long does it take the Court to audit an account once it is filed?

Generally, an account is audited within 30 to 45 days from the date that it is filed. If no initial audit notice has been received after 60 days, you may contact the Auditing Branch Manager at 202-879-9429 or the Supervisory Auditor at 202-879-9412 to inquire about the status of the audit.

Accounting Questions - How long does it take to audit an account once it has been filed?

Generally, an account is audited within 30 to 45 days from the date of filing. If no initial audit notice has been received after 60 days, contact the Auditing Branch Manager at 202-879-9429 to inquire regarding the status of the audit.

Accounting Questions - If a summary hearing has been set, for example, for failure to file account requirements and the requirements are satisfied before the scheduled summary hearing date, will the hearing be cancelled

No. Once a summary hearing is scheduled, it can only be cancelled by the Court, and the Judge will expect you to be present. If you cannot attend, file a motion to continue or vacate the hearing as soon as possible, explaining why you cannot be present. The Judge may, or may not, grant such a motion.

Accounting Questions - If a supervised estate is re-opened, when are the inventory and the first account filed?

An inventory is due within 90 days of the date of the order re-opening the estate, and a first account is due no later than nine months from the date of the order re-opening the estate. Subsequent accounts are due every nine months thereafter.

Accounting Questions - If I cannot fully comply with the audit requirements within the time set, what should I do?

File a motion for an extension of time to comply with the audit requirements providing the reason why an extension is needed. The Judge may, or may not, grant such a motion.

Accounting Questions - If the Notice of Appointment, Notice to Creditors and Notice to Unknown Heirs was republished, when is the first account due in a supervised estate?

Pursuant to DC Code, sec. 20-724 (a)(1), a first account is due within one year and one day after the first publication of notice pursuant to section 20-704. Accordingly, if the first attempt at publication was unsuccessful, then the first account is not due until one year and one day from the date of the successful republication.

Accounting Questions - In an unsupervised estate, when is an account due?

In an unsupervised estate, pursuant to DC Code, sec. 20-734, the personal representative has a duty to provide an account to the interested persons at reasonable intervals or on reasonable demand, and the personal representative may be compelled to account to the Court in a proceeding initiated by an interested person following notice and a hearing. However, because the estate is unsupervised, there is no duty to file the account with the Court unless the Court orders that an account to be filed or an estate to be converted to supervised probate. In a supervised estate, the first account is due for filing with the Court one year plus one day from the first date of publication of the Notice of Appointment, Notice to Creditors and Notice to Unknown Heirs. Subsequent accounts are due every nine months thereafter.

Accounting Questions - Is a special administrator required to file an inventory and an account?

The powers and duties of a special administrator are set forth in DC Code, sec. 20-533, Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 419, and the order of appointment. A special administrator is not usually required to file an inventory but is ordinarily required to file periodic reports and is required to account for the property of a decedent upon the appointment of a personal representative.

Accounting Questions - Is there a checklist of items to ensure that an account will be accepted for filing?

Yes. A checklist is available and can be found on pages 6-11 of the Inventory and Accounting Guide.

Accounting Questions - Is there a checklist of items to ensure that the account will be accepted for filing?

Yes. A checklist is available and can be found on pages 6-11 of the Inventory and Accounting Guide or on the Probate Division’s website.

Accounting Questions - Is there a checklist of the items that must be included with an account to ensure that the account will be accepted for filing?

Yes. A checklist is available on pages 6 to 11 of the Inventory and Accounting Guide and on the Probate Division website.

Accounting Questions - Is there a fee for filing an objection to an account or inventory?

There is a $25.00 fee for filing an Objection (Exception) to Account or Inventory in an intervention proceeding.

Accounting Questions - What do I file as receipts if the bank does not return checks?

File a written statement signed by each person who received a distribution stating that the person received the distribution and listing specifically the amount of the final payment received.

Accounting Questions - What forms do I need to prepare an account?

The forms needed are: (1) Account; (2) Schedules A – L; (3) Schedule K-1 for interim accounts, (4) Financial Account Information (Form 27) (for confidential information under Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 5.1); (5) copies of bank statements; and (6) copies of canceled checks, receipts, or vouchers in support of all transactions. Sometimes, the original bank statements or canceled checks may be requested during the account audit. The Account, Schedules A - L, and Financial Account Information (Form 27) can be found on the Probate Division website.

Accounting Questions - What forms do I need to prepare an account?

The forms needed are: (1) Account (with Schedules A – L), (2) Financial Account Information (Form 27) (for confidential information under SCR-PD 5.1), (3) bank statements, and (4) canceled checks, receipts, or vouchers in support of all transactions.

Accounting Questions - What forms do I need to prepare an account?

The forms needed are: (1) Account; (2) Schedules A – L; (3) Schedule K-1 for interim accounts, (4) Financial Account Information (Form 27) (for confidential information under Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 5.1); (5) copies of bank statements; and (6) copies of canceled checks, receipts, or vouchers in support of all transactions. Sometimes, the original bank statements or canceled checks may be requested during the account audit. The Account, Schedules A - L, and Financial Account Information (Form 27) can be found on the Probate Division website.

Accounting Questions - What forms do I need to prepare an account?

The forms needed are: (1) Account (with Schedules A – L), (2) Financial Account Information (Form 27) (for confidential information under SCR-PD 5.1), (3) bank statements, and (4) canceled checks, receipts, or vouchers in support of all transactions.

Accounting Questions - What forms do I need to prepare an account?

The forms needed are: (1) Account (with Schedules A – L), (2) Financial Account Information (Form 27) (for confidential information under SCR-PD 5.1), (3) bank statements, and (4) canceled checks, receipts, or vouchers in support of all transactions.

Accounting Questions - Why do audit inquiries from auditors sometimes differ in similar situations?

Audits are conducted on a case-by-case basis. Inquiries may differ depending upon the circumstances of the case. If matters are not resolved with the auditor to your satisfaction, please write either P. Allen Butler, III, Auditing Branch Manager, or Anne Meister, Esq., Register of Wills, and request an administrative review. Please note that a request for administrative review will not stay the response period.

Compensation Questions - Does a request for compensation have to be filed for persons dying on or after July 1, 1995?

No. A petition for compensation is not required to be filed in estates where persons died on or after July 1, 1995. Instead, a person who has a problem with the compensation paid or to be paid must file an objection with the Court and ask the Court to review the reasonableness of compensation claimed or paid.

Compensation Questions - How much can I claim for payment as personal representative of an estate?

There is no set rate of compensation for a personal representative in the District of Columbia. For estates of decedents dying on or after July 1, 1995, the standard is "reasonable" compensation. For estates of decedent’s dying before July 1, 1995, Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 125 set a guideline of 4.5 to 8% of the assets and income of the estate for the combined fee of the personal representative and the attorney for the personal representative.

Definition - What are letters of administration, and why do I need them?

Letters of administration are evidence that the Court has appointed a personal representative. They are needed to support the authority of the personal representative to collect the decedent’s assets and transact any business on behalf of the estate.

Definition - What does "probating an estate" mean?

"Probating an estate" is the process of collecting the assets of a decedent, paying any claims or bills of the decedent and the costs of administration, and distributing what is left to the heirs if the decedent had no will and to persons named in a will to receive assets if the decedent had a will. To begin this process, a petition for probate and supporting documents must be filed at the Probate Division’s Legal Branch, 515 5th Street, NW, 3rd Floor, Room 312, Washington, DC A judge will then review the documents to determine whether an estate should be opened and, if so, appoint a personal representative who will be responsible for probating the estate. If there is a will, the judge will also decide whether it is valid and should be admitted.

Definition - What is a "cc" list?

A "cc" list is a "copies to" list. Every pleading (i.e., petition or motion) must have an attached order. All orders should end with a "cc" list that includes the names and addresses of the person filing the pleading and of all other parties or interested persons. Envelopes or mailing labels addressed to those persons should be included with the filing. The "cc" list is usually a repetition of the names and addresses in the certificate of service on the pleading plus the name and address of the filer.

Definition - What is a personal representative?

A decedent can nominate a personal representative in his or her will, but that person is not officially the personal representative until the Court issues an order appointing that person as personal representative. Once appointed, the personal representative is responsible for settling the decedent’s estate. Until the Court has appointed someone, no one has the authority to deal with the decedent’s affairs.

Definition - What is a special administrator?

A special administrator is a person appointed by the Court in two different circumstances: (1) to open a safe deposit box owned by a decedent to search for a will and (2) pending the appointment of a personal representative to protect and hold assets of the estate. The powers of a special administrator are limited.

Definition - What is a visitor?

A visitor is an officer, employee, or special appointee of the Court who has no personal interest in the proceeding. A visitor reports to the Court on the ward’s current situation and living conditions. A visitor is usually a social worker. DC Code, sec. 21-2033(c) and Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 327 state the duties of a visitor.

Definition - What is bond?

Bond is a type of insurance. If the personal representative misappropriates or otherwise mishandles estate assets, the bonding company will repay the estate the amount lost or the amount of the bond, whichever is less.

Definition - What is pro bono? Do you offer legal services; if not, can you tell me where to find legal aid?

Pro bono means "for free." Neither the Probate Division judges nor the Probate Division staff can offer legal services to the public. Some pro bono assistance is offered at the Probate Resource Center, which is open on a walk-in basis only on Tuesdays from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Room 319 on the third floor at 515 5th Street, NW, Washington, DC. Additional pro bono assistance is offered by the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia (202-628-1161), Neighborhood Legal Services (202-678-2000 or 202-269-5100), University Legal Services (202-547-0198), and the District of Columbia Pro Bono Project (202-737-4700). If you are age 60 or older, Legal Counsel for the Elderly may be able to provide assistance (202-434-2277).

Definition - What is the case number, estate number, will number, and where can it be found?

When a will or a petition to open an estate is filed, it is assigned a case number that includes the year, then "WIL," "SEB," or "ADM" then an additional number. For example, 1995 ADM 22 is a case number that means the 22nd large estate filed in 1995. The case number can usually be found in the top right-hand corner of a pleading. It can also be found by searching for the decedent by name by computer via the Court’s Court Cases Online.

Definition - What is the difference between a large and small estate?

The assets of a small estate cannot exceed $40,000.00. In addition, a small estate can be opened if the only asset is real estate located outside the District of Columbia. In contrast, the assets of a large estate may include real estate located in the District of Columbia and other assets of any value. A large estate can be opened for litigation purposes, but a small estate cannot.

Definition - What is the difference between an heir and legatee?

When there is no will, the persons who are entitled to receive the assets of the estate are set forth in the law of the District of Columbia and are called "heirs." When there is a will, the persons to whom the assets are given under the will are called "legatees" or "beneficiaries."

Definition - What is the difference between standard and abbreviated probate?

An abbreviated probate proceeding may be filed by a person having priority to serve as personal representative. Most estate administrations are abbreviated probates. Unusual estates, such as those in which the person seeking appointment does not have priority to be appointed or someone is seeking admission of a copy of a will or exclusion of an original will, require a standard probate proceeding. See DC Code, sec. 20-321, et seq. In standard probate proceedings, there are additional filing requirements and an additional set of publications before a personal representative is appointed. Once a personal representative is appointed, the estate is either supervised or unsupervised. For further information regarding when a standard probate proceeding must be filed and what documents are required, see Filing Standard Probate Proceedings in the District of Columbia.

Definition - What is the estate deposit account, and how does it work?

When an heir or legatee who is to receive liquid assets from an estate cannot be found, the personal representative can file a Petition to Deposit Funds into the Estate Deposit Account to deposit the money into the estate deposit account, a special account held by the Probate Division of the Superior Court, until the person comes forward, files a Petition for Release of Funds Held in the Estate Deposit Account, and obtains an order releasing the money to that person.

Definition - What is the Table of Consanguinity?

It is a chart of blood relationships that can be used to determine who the heirs are in an estate and whether there are any heirs to the fifth degree of consanguinity. If a decedent died without a will and there are no heirs to the fifth degree, the assets of an estate go to the District of Columbia in accordance with DC Code, sec. 19-701. 

 

Definition - What is unclaimed property?

"Unclaimed property" refers to an asset that is being held by the Unclaimed Property Office of the DC Office of Finance and Treasury. Unclaimed property of a decedent will be released only to a duly appointed personal representative, so an estate must be opened.

Getting Started - Are consents sufficient when another person has higher priority to serve as personal representative?

No. Any person who has higher priority to serve and is choosing not to do so must sign a renunciation (not a consent). The renunciation states that the person knows that he or she has higher priority to serve and is still choosing not to do so. The consent does not contain that language.

Getting Started - Are the forms available in your office?

No. The forms are available online. The forms are interactive and should be typed and printed out for filing in person.

Getting Started - How do I complete the Notice of Appointment, Notice to Creditors and Notice to Unknown Heirs?

If you have an attorney, that attorney will prepare the notice for your signature. If you are not represented by an attorney, type the decedent's name in the top line and on line 3 in the body of the notice exactly as it appears in the petition for probate. Type the name(s) of the persons who are asking to be appointed in the first line in the body of the notice and their addresses in the second line. Type the decedent's date of death in the third line. Do not type anything else in the body of the notice. The Probate Division staff will insert the dates.

All persons asking to be appointed as Personal Representative should sign the bottom of the notice and list their telephone numbers. The names of two District of Columbia newspapers must be inserted on the two lines on the bottom left. One of the newspapers must be a legal newspaper of general circulation.

Getting Started - How long does it take for a personal representative to get appointed?

Once all the required documents have been filed, an order appointing a personal representative is generally issued within 10 to 14 days.

Getting Started - Is an attorney required to file for probate?

No. Any person can file a petition for probate. However, the process is complicated, and you may wish to hire an attorney to ensure the proper administration of the estate.

Getting Started - Is an estate that is not yet opened included as an interested person in a petition for probate?

Yes. File the petition with the estate listed and the address in care of the person most likely to be appointed as personal representative. Correct or amend the List of Interested Persons after the estate is opened, and a personal representative is appointed. Serve notice on the personal representative as required by DC Code, sec. 20-704.

Getting Started - My relative just died. How long do I have to open an estate?

Although wills must be filed within ninety days of the person’s death, there is no required time within which the documents needed to open an estate must be filed. However, no one has authority to act for a decedent until an estate is opened, and a personal representative is appointed by the Court.

Getting Started - What are the court costs for filing a large estate?

Court costs are set forth in Superior Court, Probate Division Rules 125 and 425. In general, there is a $25.00 fee if the decedent owned one or more pieces of real estate in the District of Columbia, plus an additional fee depending on the value of all other assets/personal property.

$0.01 - $499.99...no cost
$500.00 - $2,500.00...$15.00
$2,500.01 - $15,000.00...$50.00
$15,000.01 - $25,000.00...$100.00
$25,000.01 - $49,999.99...$150.00
$50,000.00 - $74,999.99...$250.00
$75,000.00 - $99,999.00...$350.00
$100,000.00 - $499,999.99...$575.00
$500,000.00 - $749,999.99...$825.00
$750,000.00 - $999,999.99...$1,275.00
$1,000,000.00 - $2,499,999.99...$1,800.00
$2,500,000.00 - $4,999,999.99...$2,300.00
$5,000,000.00 and over...$2,300.00 plus 0.02% of amount in excess of $5,000,000.00

Getting Started - What does it mean to waive bond?

In all decedent’s estates in which there is no will or the will does not waive bond, the law of the District of Columbia requires that any person who wishes to serve as personal representative either obtain a signed, written waiver of bond from each interested person or buy a bond from a bonding company. Assets of the estate are used to pay the bond premium. Bond is a type of insurance. If the personal representative misappropriates or otherwise mishandles estate assets, the bonding company will repay the estate the amount lost or the amount of the bond, whichever is less. However, the amount of the bond purchased by the person who wishes to serve as personal representative does not include the share of anyone who has waived bond, so if the personal representative does misappropriate or otherwise mishandle estate assets and the bonding company has to pay off, anyone who waived bond does not receive a share of the bond.

Getting Started - What if the decedent used different names during his or her life?

An estate proceeding is opened in the name that the decedent used to sign a will if there is one. Any other version of the decedent’s name typed in the will is listed as an "aka." If there is no will and the decedent owned assets in different names during his or her life, the name used most often should be first, and other versions can be listed as "aka’s." For example, John Howard signed his will John Q. Howard, but both versions of his name are included in his will. The estate is opened as "John Q. Howard aka John Howard."

Getting Started - What is the Court cost for filing a disclaimer?

None.

Getting Started - Where are the law and rules regarding probate?

1. The rules are available on the Probate homepage.
2. The law is contained in DC Code, Title 21 and is available online on the Council of the District of Columbia’s website.
 

Getting Started - Who has priority to serve as personal representative?

If there is a will, the person nominated in the will has priority to serve. A surviving spouse is next; then children or the residuary legatees. Consult DC Code, sec. 20-303 for the order of priority to serve as personal representative.

Other Questions - Can a claim be filed before a personal representative is appointed or after the six-month claim period expires?

Claims cannot be filed until a personal representative is appointed, even if a special administrator has been appointed. See DC Code, sec. 20-901. Claims can be filed after the six-month claim period expired, but the acceptance of a claim for filing by the Probate Division is not a guarantee that it will be paid.

Other Questions - Can a Living Trust be created or filed in the Probate Division?

No.

Other Questions - How do I file a complaint against a personal representative?

A complaint is a lawsuit, and it is recommended that you seek legal advice from an attorney. Complaints filed in the Probate Division must be verified (sworn to), pursuant to Superior Court, Probate Division Rules 107 and 407. When the complaint is presented for filing, it should be accompanied by a summons addressed to each defendant and a filing fee of $120.00 in cash, check or by check or money order payable to the "Register of Wills."

Other Questions - How do I file an appeal?

Notice of Appeal from a final order or judgment of the Probate Division is filed in the Legal Branch of the Probate Division, Room 312, 515 5th Street, NW, Washington, DC. There is a fee of $100 payable in cash or by check or money payable to "Register of Wills."

Other Questions - How do I re-open an estate?

To re-open an estate, an unsupervised personal representative may file a Request for Extension of Personal Representative's Appointment or a petition to re-open. A supervised personal representative must file a petition to re-open. If an estate needs to be re-opened, but the personal representative is no longer available to serve, then a petition to re-open and appoint a successor personal representative should be filed. Please see Re-opening a Decedent's Estate in the District of Columbia.

Other Questions - How do I remove a personal representative?

A personal representative may be removed from a case by order of a judge. The process of removing a personal representative is begun with the filing of either a complaint for removal in the LIT case type (LIT means Major Litigation) or a petition for removal in the estate case (ADM). It is recommended that any person considering removal of a personal representative seek legal advice from an attorney.

Other Questions - I have a claim against a decedent’s estate. When does the claim period end?

In large estates, the claims period expires six months after the first date of publication of the Notice of Appointment, Notice to Creditors and Notice to Unknown Heirs. However, if the personal representative is aware of the existence of a debt, the personal representative must take action with regard to the debt even if no claim has been filed.

Other Questions - If a power of attorney was granted before the death of the decedent, is the probate process necessary?

The authority granted in a power of attorney ends the minute that the person who signed the power of attorney dies. The person named as attorney-of-fact in the power of attorney must immediately stop using the power of attorney or will be subject to potential personal liability. If the decedent owned assets in his or her sole name, an estate proceeding must be opened to collect and distribute those assets.

Other Questions - If my name is already on the deed to my house, or if I held or owned property jointly with the decedent, is probate necessary?

If your name is already on a deed to real estate as a joint owner and the deed has already been filed at the Recorder of Deeds, that real estate passes automatically to you at the death of the co-owner, and no probate proceeding is necessary to pass title to that piece of real estate. If your name is already on a deed but not as a joint owner (instead, as a tenant in common), a probate proceeding will be necessary to transfer the decedent’s share of the property to you. If the asset is a joint bank account, it may or may not be subject to a probate proceeding depending upon when the account was established and the intent of the decedent.

Other Questions - The decedent died without issue (children or descendants of children). Who inherits the decedent’s property?

The decedent’s spouse and parents.

Other Questions - What documents need to be verified to be filed in the Probate Division?

The following pleadings must be verified to be filed in the Probate Division:

1. All Petitions - SCR-PD 2(b) and 3
2. Complaints filed in Probate Matters - SCR-PD 107(a), and 208(a)
3. Accounts - DC Code 20-721
4. Inventories - DC Code 20-711
5. Guardian Reports - SCR-PD 328
6. Assignments - SCR-PD 120 and 420
7. Claims - DC Code 20-905(a)
8. Affidavits of Mailing and Non-Mailing in Standard Probate - SCR-PD 403(a)(8)
9. Any Affidavit - SCR-CIV 9
10. Verification and Certificate of Notice - SCR-PD 403(b)(3)
11. Certificate of Completion - SCR-PD 426

According to Superior Court, Civil Division Rule11, no other pleadings need be verified. Accordingly, motions, answers, responses, and oppositions do not need to be verified.

Other Questions - What documents need to be verified to be filed in the Probate Division?

The following pleadings must be verified to be filed in the Probate Division:

1. All Petitions - SCR-PD 2(b) and 3
2. Complaints filed in Probate Matters - SCR-PD 107(a), and 208(a)
3. Accounts - DC Code 20-721
4. Inventories - DC Code 20-711
5. Guardian Reports - SCR-PD 328
6. Assignments - SCR-PD 120 and 420
7. Claims - DC Code 20-905(a)
8. Affidavits of Mailing and Non-Mailing in Standard Probate - SCR-PD 403(a)(8)
9. Any Affidavit - SCR-CIV 9
10. Verification and Certificate of Notice - SCR-PD 403(b)(3)
11. Certificate of Completion - SCR-PD 426

According to SCR-CIV 11, no other pleadings need be verified. Accordingly, motions, answers, responses and oppositions do not need to be verified.

Other Questions - What is the procedure for obtaining a foreign subpoena from the Probate Division?

Submit a copy of the foreign subpoena, a completed Probate Division PBM subpoena form, and a $10.00 fee for each subpoena requested to the Probate Clerk’s Office in the Probate Division on the third floor at 515 5th Street, NW, Washington, DC. The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all counsel of record and of all parties not represented by counsel must be included either in the foreign subpoena or on the second page of the PBM subpoena form. If medical records are being requested, the copy of the foreign subpoena must be certified, and the filer will be referred to Judge-in-Chambers for issuance of the subpoena.

Other Questions - What is the procedure for transferring a will that should not have been filed in the District of Columbia to the correct state?

File a verified petition to transfer the will to the state in which the decedent was domiciled, which is where the will should have been filed. The petition must contain (1) facts supporting the argument that the will was filed in the District of Columbia in error and that the other state was the decedent’s domicile at death and (2) the name, address, and telephone number of the Clerk of the Court of the other state who is authorized to accept the transferred will. Include a proposed order authorizing the transfer. If the petition is granted, the Probate Division will mail the will directly to the Court official authorized to receive it in the other state.

Serving as Personal Representative - Does the Court distribute the funds from the estate to the heirs?

No, the personal representative holds the estate assets and makes the distributions to the persons entitled to receive them.

Serving as Personal Representative - How can I obtain an appraisal, and can I hire my own appraiser?

The personal representative may make an appointment with the court appraiser by calling 202-879-9445. The services of the court appraiser are free of charge. If the personal representative chooses to use a private appraiser, the personal representative will have to pay for that appraiser from the estate’s funds or from the personal representative’s own funds if the estate is insolvent. Please note that the court appraiser does not appraise real property, coin collections, stamp collections, or clothing except for fur coats.

Serving as Personal Representative - How do I obtain additional letters?

Additional or updated Letters can be purchased for $1.00 each at the Probate Division, 515 5th Street, NW, Room 314, Washington, DC 20001, or ordered by mail. To order by mail, complete the Copy Request Form and mail with check payable to "Register of Wills."

Serving as Personal Representative - How do I open an estate account?

First, the personal representative should contact the Internal Revenue Service and obtain a tax identification number for the estate, called an Employer Identification Number (EIN). The telephone number is (800) 829-4933. Then the personal representative should take that number, a copy of the order appointing personal representative, an original of the letters of administration, the decedent’s death certificate, and the check or cash that needs to be deposited to the bank of his or her choosing. The personal representative can then open an account titled "Estate of ____________, your name, Personal Representative." It is best to open an account that returns cancelled checks or provides copies with the bank account statements, so it will be easier to keep records of all transactions. The bank account statements and canceled checks will be needed to prepare the account filed with the Court in supervised probate estates.

Serving as Personal Representative - How do I resign as personal representative of this estate?

Send each interested person a letter stating your intent to resign. If after 15 days, no one has petitioned to be appointed successor personal representative, file a petition asking the Court to allow you to resign, and include a copy of the letter. See DC Code, sec. 20-525.

Serving as Personal Representative - How long are letters of administration valid?

Letters of administration are valid as long as the estate is open. However, many financial institutions want letters that have been issued within 60 days of the date of whatever transaction is being made. Updated Letters for open estates can be purchased for $1.00 each at the Probate Division, 515 5th Street, NW, 3rd Floor, Room 314, Washington, DC 20001, or requested by mail. See above.

Serving as Personal Representative - I have distributed everything except the house. How do I do that?

By preparing and executing a deed from you as personal representative of the estate to the person entitled to receive the house and filing the deed at the Recorder of Deeds. There is a filing fee, and other documents must be presented at filing, so check with the Recorder of Deeds office before going. The Recorder of Deeds is part of the Office of Tax and Revenue of the District of Columbia and is located at 1101 4th Street, S.W., 5th Floor, Washington, DC 20024, (202) 727-5374.

Serving as Personal Representative - If additional assets are found and collected, what is necessary?

First, consider whether additional bond is required. If so, petition to increase bond.

Next, if the estate is unsupervised and the Verification and Certificate of Notice has not been filed, include the additional assets on the Verification and Certificate of Notice when it is filed and pay any additional Court costs then.

If the estate is unsupervised and the Verification and Certificate of Notice has been filed, file a Praecipe with the Court stating the amount of any additional assets and paying any additional Court costs required. Include the additional assets in the accounts served on the interested persons.

If the estate is supervised, include the additional assets in the next account filed.

Serving as Personal Representative - Is the appraisal of real property required?

An appraisal of real property is not required for accounting purposes. Instead, a tax-assessed value from the DC Office of Tax and Revenue may be used. If, however, you are filing a petition for sale of real property, an appraisal is required by Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 112(b) (for estates of decedents who died before July 1, 1995).

Serving as Personal Representative - What are my responsibilities as personal representative?

The personal representative is responsible for collecting the assets; paying or dealing with any claims, debts, or bills with the decedent’s funds; filing the decedent’s final income tax return and any missing returns; filing any tax returns required of the estate; keeping the interested persons informed of the progress of the estate; and distributing the remaining assets to those entitled to receive them. For additional information, see After Death – A Guide to Probate in the District of Columbia.

Serving as Personal Representative - What happens when claims are filed against the estate?

The personal representative is responsible for responding to those who file claims by sending a Notice of Action on Claim, which says (1) whether the claim has been allowed for the requested amount, (2) whether the claim has been disallowed or allowed for an amount less than the amount requested and what the procedures and time limits for contesting the disallowance or reduction are, or (3) whether the personal representative will petition the Court to decide whether the claim should be allowed. If a personal representative is allowing a claim in whole, in part, or in a stated amount, the personal representative should send a check for that amount to the claimant from the estate bank account.

Serving as Personal Representative - When will the estate be closed?

Unsupervised estates close three years from the date of appointment of the personal representative unless ordered otherwise by the Court or unless the personal representative chooses to file a Certificate of Completion to close the estate sooner. The court closes the estate administratively, and no notice is sent. Supervised estates close when the final account is approved by the Court.

Serving as Personal Representative - When will the money/assets be distributed?

The decision to distribute assets in a supervised estate is made by the personal representative and depends upon the assets of the estate, outstanding claims, debts, or liabilities, and the expiration of the six-month creditor claim period. Although all or some of the assets may be distributed sooner, in a supervised estate any assets remaining are distributed after the Court has approved the final account. In an unsupervised estate, any assets remaining are generally distributed 60 days after the final account is mailed to all remaining interested persons.

Serving as Personal Representative - Where can I obtain information regarding real estate appraisers?

The Probate Division does not maintain a list of real estate appraisers. Consult the yellow pages of the phone book or the Internet for listings of real estate appraisers licensed in the District of Columbia.

Serving as Personal Representative - Where do I obtain a tax I.D. number for the estate?

Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), a special tax identification number for an estate, by contacting the Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-4933.