Probate is the process of finalizing an estate after someone dies. When your loved one dies, you may have to assist with the probate process.
However, you should note that not all estates require the formal probate process. Even those that do may have some parts of the estate that will not require probating.
Automatic pass-through assets
Any assets within an estate that automatically transfer to another party when the owner dies do not have to go through probate. This might include items in a trust and beneficiary accounts. The deceased already set up the transfer prior to death, so there is nothing for the court to do in probate with these assets.
Also, if the person had a spouse, state law will automatically transfer certain items to the spouse. There may be no need for the court to step in.
Lower valued estates
If the estate does not have many assets, it may not require formal probate. the law states property valued over $166,250 must go through probate with no exceptions. If it is under that amount, then probate may not be necessary.
Check-in with the court
The best course of action after someone dies is to check in with the probate court to ensure formal probate is not a requirement. The person who has the deceased will should file it with the court. The person who is in charge of the estate will then need to file a probate petition. This will begin the process and allow the court to determine if there are probatable assets.