When someone passes away, the process of administering his or her estate is called “Probate”. The simple explanation is that one’s estate either needs to be probated or it does not. In order to determine whether a Probate case needs to be opened with the court system, we need to look at the assets the decedent left behind. If the estate is valued at less than $100,000, then no Probate case needs to be opened and a small estate affidavit will suffice. The $100,000 valuation takes into account all of the decedent’s personal assets, including real estate (depending on how the property is held). If the estate is more than $100,000, opening a Probate case may be the best way to administer the estate.
An important component is how the property is titled, held, and whether there are designated beneficiaries in place – this may affect the need for Probate versus a small estate affidavit. One way to address with these issues ahead of time is through wise estate planning choices. Contact us today to assist you with your estate planning and/or Probate questions.