Why You May Still Have to Open a Legal Probate Proceeding
Probate is the legal process for recognizing the validity of a person’s will after their death and appointing the nominated decision maker. This person, also known as an executor or personal representative, administers the deceased person’s estate and ensures that their money and property are transferred to the beneficiaries specified in their will. If someone dies without a will, probate is the process by which a court declares who that person’s heirs are and appoints an administrator who will distribute the person’s money and property as required by state law. Because the probate process can sometimes be expensive and lengthy, and the details of the deceased person’s estate may become part of public court records, many people create an estate plan designed to avoid probate by using a revocable living trust. However, there are some circumstances in which a probate proceeding may still be necessary.
A Third Party Refuses to Accept Your Affidavit
Affidavit for small estates. Nearly every state allows smaller estates (the amount depends on the state) to bypass the typical probate proceedings, or at least use a quicker and simpler probate process. In those states, after a certain number of days have passed following a person’s death, the beneficiary of a small estate may submit to a person, bank, or other institution a small estate affidavit stating that they are entitled to the money or property, along with a death certificate. The affidavit is usually required to be notarized, and typically the person or institution to which it is submitted can rely on the affidavit to transfer the money or property to the beneficiary. The person or institution will not be held liable if it is later revealed […]