Probate is the court process to clear title and things belonging to someone who has died. Probate is not automatic and not always needed.
Here are some instances where probate is needed:
- There is real estate owned by someone who died and no one else is left alive on title.
- There is money in the bank owned by someone who died and the amount left in that account exceeds $150,000 or more.
- There is a business or other assets owned by someone who died and you cannot collect on those assets as the financial institution or other people are asking for Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration.
Probate, overall, is a complicated process, but can be made very easy with the assistance of an attorney like myself. I can explain what happened and which legal process is needed and why.
As stated elsewhere, I always offer complimentary consultations to discuss probate matters and whether it is needed for your specific situation. The law does offer some alternatives to probate and they are very situation specific but include procedures like a Spousal Property Petition; Heggstad Petition; Small Estate Affidavit among other procedures.