The question as to whether or not probate is necessary depends largely on the property the decedent owned and how it was held.
Going through the process of probate will generally clarify any issues and challenges related to the distribution of funds of an estate. Depending on the size of the estate, probate may be considered very necessary. Larger estates can sometimes get complicated and legal issues may arise. For smaller estates, you may be able to get by with a less formal procedure than you would for large estates.
One of the first things to get clarified in the probate process is the title for the property of an estate. Although there may be a will, the property owned by the deceased at the time of death is part of the estate and is subject to probate. This may include pension accounts, bank accounts, personal property (jewelry, furniture, artwork, etc.), and more. For example, if a family member passes away and leaves his or her home to a relative, the probate court can order that the title be put in the family member’s name. The family member can now manage the property. If the family member doesn’t go through the probate process, the title hasn’t been legally transferred.
In summary, it would be wise to go consult with an attorney to assess whether and what extent the probate process is necessary to legally finalize the distribution of an estate in accordance with a will or an intestate estate.
Call Vanderkooi Law today for your free initial consultation if you’re looking at going through the probate process and would like help.