Probate is the court process that authorizes a personal representative to transfer a deceased person’s property. Two important determining factors on if a person’s estate needs to go through probate are: 1) did the person own real property in their name only, and 2) did the person have assets valued more than $75,000 in their name only. Just because a person has a Will does not mean their estate will not go through probate; depending on a person’s assets, they may need a Trust to avoid probate.
There are two types of probate, formal and informal. An informal probate is handled by a Probate Registrar, and a formal probate is handled by a District Court Judge. An application or petition to initiate a probate case (formal or informal) with the court can be filed 5 days after the person has passed away, but needs to be filed within 3 years of their passing. The application or petition is filed by the person who is trying to be appointed the personal representative of the estate. Generally the personal representative is the person appointed in the Will, the surviving spouse, a devisee (a person listed as a recipient in a Will), or other heir.
If you have questions about how to proceed with a probate case, or have a current probate case you are a party to and have questions, please give our office a call.