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Wills, Probate, and Advance Directives: A Beginner's Guide

Probate Estate Administration

We frequently receive reference requests for resources related to the administration of an estate. In this section, we will direct you to general and state-specific resources that concern probate administration.

As always, we strongly recommend starting your research by finding a secondary source, like a legal treatise or journal article, on the topic. Secondary sources provide researchers with a more succinct and comprehensible explanation of the current law than they might get from reading statutes, regulations, and cases. They also provide citations to primary sources, so that researchers do not have to track down the documents on their own. Some helpful resources in the Library of Congress collection include:

You will find that most states include a probate code as one of the titles in their statutory code. You can find answers to common questions about the administration of estates under this title. Note that you will often find that there is a streamlined method of administration for estates under a certain value, which is often referred to as summary administration.

You can locate a link to your state code in our Guide to Law Online. Like some of the legal issues addressed in our previous guides, this area of law can be state specific and many legal publishers have created treatises concerning probate law that are state specific for that reason.

To locate additional resources that are specific to your state, please search in the Library of Congress Online Catalog and browse subject headings.

Some of the subject headings that may be of interest include:

You might also want to check with your county clerk’s office or the clerk of your local probate court to see if they have any resources that can simplify the administration of a probate estate.