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Why Probate a Will

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Estate planning attorneys are usually asked “When is probate really required?” As with a lot of estate planning inquiries, the answer subject to the specific laws of the state where you resided when you passed away furthermore to the laws of any other state where you’re the owner of real estate. The following is a list of reasons why an estate would be required to be probated.

Assets Ownership in the Deceased Sole Name

When the deceased was owner of property exclusively in their name, not having any other joint owners or a POD appointment, additionally in a lot of cases the property will be required to be probated to get it taken it out of the deceased’s name and placed in the names of the beneficiaries of the deceased. A deviation in many states are vehicles.

For instance, in the states of Florida and Tennessee, a motor vehicle may be transferred to the decedent’s heirs at law devoid of a probate estate being opened. Separately, many states have a straightforward approach for “small estates” that takes to an extent less time than a full probate management. In Florida, a small estate is deemed to be worth $75,000 or less.

Assets Ownership as a Tenant in Common

If the deceased owned property as a tenant in common, their share may need probate to transfer it to beneficiaries. The “small estate” process also applies if the share is worth less than the state’s limit. If the tenant in common interest was transferred to the decedent’s Revocable Living Trust before death, probate may not be required.

Predecease Beneficiaries or No Named Beneficiaries

If the deceased had a POD account, Health or Medical Savings Account, life insurance, retirement accounts (IRA/401(k)), or an annuity, and all beneficiaries have passed or none were named, probate is often needed to transfer it to the deceased’s beneficiaries. The “small estate” process applies if the account or policy lacks a valid beneficiary and is worth less than the state’s limit.

The Deceased Did Not Have an Authentic Last Will and Testament

Without a valid will, if certain circumstances apply to the deceased’s assets, probate is often necessary to transfer them to the heirs at law. The “small estate” process applies to intestate estates if the property value is below the state’s limit.

The Deceased Has an Authentic Last Will and Testament

Even with a valid will, if certain circumstances apply to the deceased’s assets, probate is usually necessary. This process also applies to a testate estate if the property value is below the state’s small estate limit.

Source:

  1. Garber, J. (2020, September 25). Do you know WHEN probating a will is necessary? Retrieved February 15, 2021, from https://www.thebalance.com/when-is-probate-necessary-3505265

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