To start the process, the applicant files papers with the probate court. These include a will and information about your property and beneficiary designations. Once appointed, the executor or administrator (the "personal representative") must notify relevant parties, including relatives and creditors, of the death. During the process, the personal representative must locate and manage your assets. The personal representative is also responsible for paying valid debts and preparing and filing final income taxes. Once the personal representative pays all debts, the remaining assets are distributed to the beneficiaries.