Seals of the Court of Appeals and Superior Court
District of Columbia Courts

Large Decedent’s Estates (ADM)

Items needed to open a case & file a petition

The forms necessary to open a large estate differ depending upon the date of death of the decedent. Two sets of forms are available:

 

If the date of death is before January 1, 1981, there are no pre-printed forms available. Please consult an experienced probate attorney to prepare the proper paperwork, and carefully review Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 10. Included in each set of forms (organized by date of death) are (1) forms to open an abbreviated probate estate, (2) forms to open a standard probate estate, (3) other general forms, and (4) inventory and accounting forms.

Filing the Petition

When the petition for probate is filed, it is reviewed by the Probate Division’s Legal Branch to ensure that all of the necessary documents have been submitted and that the filings comply with minimum legal requirements. After the petition is accepted for filing, the petition and any attachments, including a draft order, are transmitted to a judge. An order signed by a judge is needed to admit the will to probate if there is a will, appoint the personal representative, determine whether the administration of the estate is to be supervised or unsupervised, approve or waive bond, and order payment of the allowances provided for by law. A copy of the signed order will be mailed to the personal representative and his or her attorney with letters of administration and a Schedule of Mandatory Filings.

The Probate Division will send the document called Notice of Appointment, Notice to Creditors and Notice to Unknown Heirs to the two newspapers chosen by the personal representative for publication. The notice must be published once a week for three consecutive weeks concurrently in both of the publications. This publication serves as notice of the personal representative's appointment and establishes the deadline for filing a claim against the decedent’s estate or an objection to the proceedings. Publication of this notice is very important, and the personal representative is responsible for making sure that the publication occurs as directed. If the estate is unsupervised, the proofs of publication and a document titled Verification and Certificate of Notice must be filed with the Probate Division within 90 days of appointment of the personal representative. If the estate is supervised, the proofs of publication and an Inventory, which includes a Verification and Certificate of Notice must be filed within 90 days.

Other duties of the personal representative are set forth in After Death - A Guide to Probate in the District of Columbia. Please read it carefully if you are considering becoming a personal representative. Included in each set of forms (organized by date of death) are (1) forms to open an abbreviated probate estate, (2) forms to open a standard probate estate, (3) other general forms, and (4) inventory and accounting forms.

Resources
Contact
Probate Division

Presiding Judge: Hon. Gerald I. Fisher
Deputy Presiding Judge: Hon. Alfred S. Irving Jr.
Register of Wills: Anne Meister
Deputy Register of Wills: Nicole Stevens

Court Building A
515 Fifth Street, NW, Third Floor
Washington, DC 20001

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Hours of Operation

Mondays-Friday:
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Telephone Numbers

202-879-9460