How Do You Know if Probate Is Necessary?

Probate Is Necessary

If a loved one has passed and left a will, you’ll need to find out whether probate is necessary.

Probate is something that many people have to go through because it involves verifying the legitimacy of a will. However, there are some cases in which it isn’t necessary, but that doesn’t happen often.

The reason why you must find out whether probate is necessary is that assets can’t be distributed if it is. Understanding when it is not necessary to probate a will can also help you go through the process quickly instead of waiting to find out whether you must go to probate court.

So when is probate necessary? Read on to find out everything you need to know!

There Isn’t a Will

One of the main things that make probate necessary is when someone dies but doesn’t have a will. In cases like this, it can be difficult to determine who should get the deceased person’s assets. Not having a will also prevents someone from becoming an executor of the estate, which is the person that’s responsible for distributing assets.

However, many estates don’t require a probate if a person doesn’t leave anything behind. For example, if someone dies but has no assets, there’s no reason to probate because there isn’t anything to distribute.

The Will Isn’t Valid

In cases where someone dies but does have a will, probate may be necessary if the will isn’t valid. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but it often happens when a person creates a will and doesn’t notarize it. Without notarization, you can’t tell if a will is legitimate.

There’s also a chance that someone will contest the will if they don’t agree with it. For example, if a will states that certain assets should be distributed to someone, another person can dispute that. If this happens, it will be up to a court to determine the outcome.

This is why getting a will notarized and updating it when needed is important. When working with a professional to come up with a valid will, it’ll ensure that no one runs into problems in the future. You can find estate probate attorneys within minutes, so they’re worth speaking to before finalizing your will.

There Aren’t Any Beneficiaries

When a person dies but doesn’t have any beneficiaries, it means they haven’t assigned assets to anyone. In cases like this, a probate is necessary because the court will decide what happens to the assets.

Most of the time, a probate court will try to contact those that were closest to the deceased person. If they can’t get in touch with anyone, the state will take control of the assets after debts have been paid. From there, it’s up to them to decide what happens.

Debts Are Owed

One of the things that many people forget about when someone dies is the debt they may have owed. While you can figure the distribution process out, you’ll need assistance determining which debts will be paid. If the deceased person owes any type of debt, a probate court will need to get involved.

Before the assets can be distributed, the probate court will determine what will be used to pay for debts. They can take anything that can be liquidated to cover the debts, but they’ll work with you to choose which things will go. This is why hiring a lawyer is so important when someone dies and leaves behind an estate.

Assets Are Jointly-Owned

When someone jointly owns property with another person and they die, they often ask, “when is it necessary to apply for probate?” As soon as that person dies, the other owner needs to apply immediately because a probate court will be required to transfer full ownership to the other party.

The transfer usually doesn’t take long because the court will know exactly who the other owner is. However, some joint ownerships involve a variety of people, so it may take time to determine who will get ownership.

When Is Probate Not Necessary?

Probate isn’t necessary in all cases. Any estate that’s small enough can avoid probate if everyone agrees with the will. Transferring ownership of things can also be done if all parties are aware of the transfer.

Is probate necessary when a spouse dies? Not always. Providing that two partners jointly owned everything, the other spouse would get all of the assets without question. This is because they technically own the assets, so there’s no need to consider other beneficiaries.

Depending on the state the person died in, their estate may be resolved by going through a simple probate process. This process often includes signing an affidavit, so the court doesn’t need to get involved in the distribution of assets.

Many states require estates to be of a certain value before probate becomes necessary. Providing that the estate isn’t valued more than your state’s minimum, you can go through the distribution process without going to probate court.

When Is Probate Necessary? Now You Know

After reading this, you no longer need to ask yourself, “when is probate necessary?” Whenever you have to deal with someone’s death, you can use this information to determine whether you should go to probate court. Working with estate probate attorneys will further help you with this process.

We encourage anyone that suffers a loss to contact an attorney as soon as possible. When working with one, they’ll provide you with all the information you need to go through the distribution process.

Check out our other articles to learn more about a variety of topics!

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About the Author: Nicole Ann Pore

Nicole Ann Pore is a writer, an events host and a voice over artist. Travel, health, shopping, lifestyle and business are among the many subjects she writes about. Through quality and well-researched writing, she informs and even entertains readers about things that matter. She is also interested in film critiquing and filmmaking. Giving all the glory to God, Nicole graduated Cum Laude from De La Salle University Manila, Philippines with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts.