State Probate Thresholds

What do terms like "probate" and "affidavit" mean? Learn here.

Probate Information for Each State

Washington


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $100,000 of personal property may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 11.62.010) Summary Administration: Yes If an estate is solvent, it may qualify for summary administration. ( Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 11.68.011) Informal Probate: No Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Oregon


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $275,000 may qualify for the affidavit procedure.( Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 114.510)

  • Personal property can count towards $75,000 of this amount.
  • Real estate can count towards $200,000 of this amount.
Summary Administration: No Informal Probate: No Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




California


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $166,250 may qualify for the affidavit procedure. This amount can be a combination of real property and personal property. Real property cannot exceed $55,425 of this amount. ( Cal. Prob. Code §§ 13100 & 13200) Summary Administration: Yes If the sole heir of an estate is the spouse, it may qualify for summary administration. ( Cal. Prob. Code §§ 13500) Informal Probate: No Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Alabama


Affidavit Procedure: No Summary Administration: Yes An estate with up to $30,245 of personal property (i.e. calculated from a baseline of $25,000 which is adjusted annually for inflation) may qualify for summary administration. ( Ala. Code §§ 43-2-692) Informal Probate: No Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Alaska


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $50,000 of personal property and up to $100,000 of vehicles may qualify for the affidavit procedure. (Alaska Stat. §§ 13.16.680) Summary Administration: Yes If an estate value does not exceed the allowances and exemptions in the following statute, it may qualify for summary administration.(Alaska Stat. §§ 13.16.690) I nformal Probate: Yes (Alaska Stat. §§ 13.16.080) Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate. **Website links for Alaska are not active. Email info@fpm.org if you would like statute page.




Connecticut


Affidavit Procedure: No Summary Administration: Yes An estate with up to $40,000 of personal property may qualify for the summary administration process. ( Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 45a-273) Informal Probate: No Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Arkansas


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $100,000 may qualify for the affidavit procedure. This amount can be a combination of real property and personal property. ( Ark. Ann. § 28-41-101) Summary Administration: Yes An estate with limited amounts of personal property for a spouse or minor children may qualify for summary administration. ( Ark. Ann. § 28-41-103) Informal Probate: No Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Colorado


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $70,000 of personal property (i.e. calculated from a baseline of $60,000 which is adjusted anually for inflation) may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Colo. Rev. State§§ 15-12-1201) Summary Administration: Yes If an estate value does not exceed the allowances and exemptions in the following statute, it may qualify for summary administration. ( Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 15-12-1203) Informal Probate: Yes ( Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 15-12-301) Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Delaware


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $30,000 of personal property may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Del. Code, Tit. 12 § 2306) Summary Administration Process: No Informal Probate: No Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Florida


Affidavit Procedure: Yes If an estate value does not exceed the allowances and exemptions in the following statute, it may qualify for a court-approved affidavit procedure. ( Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 735.301) Summary Administration: Yes An estate with up to $75,000 (real and/or personal property) in addition to exempt property may qualify for summary administration. ( Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 735.201) Informal Probate: No Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Georgia


Affidavit Procedure: No Summary Administration: Yes If an estate has no Will, no debts, and the heirs have agreed on how to divide the property, it may qualify for summary administration. ( Ga. Code Ann. §§ 53-2-40) Informal Probate: No Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Any personal property may trigger full probate.




Arizona


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $175,000 may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 14-3971)

  • Personal property can count towards $75,000 of this amount.
  • Real estate can count towards $100,000 of this amount.
If either number exceeds its threshold, only the personal property or real property respectively will be probated. Summary Administration: Yes If an estate value does not exceed the allowances and exemptions in the following statute, it may qualify for summary administration. ( Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 14-3973) Informal Probate: Yes ( Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 14-3301) Probate:
Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Hawaii


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $100,000 of personal property and unlimited vehicles may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 560:3-1201) Summary Administration: Yes An estate with up to $100,000 (real and/or personal property) may qualify for summary administration. ( Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 560:3-1205) Informal Probate: Yes ( Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 560:3-301) Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Idaho


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $100,000 of personal property may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Idaho Code §§ 15-3-1201) Summary Administration: Yes If an estate value does not exceed the allowances and exemptions in the following statute ( Idaho Code §§ 15-3-1203), or if an estate’s sole heir is a spouse ( Idaho Code §§ 15-3-1205), it may qualify for summary administration. Informal Probate: Yes ( Idaho Code §§ 15-3-301) Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Illinois


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $100,000 of personal property may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( 755 Ill. Comp. Stat. §§ 5/25-1) Summary Administration: Yes An estate with up to $100,000 (real and/or personal property) may qualify for summary administration if the heirs have agreed on how to divide the property. ( 755 Ill. Comp. Stat. §§ 5/9-8) Informal Probate: No Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Indiana


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $50,000 of personal property may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Ind. Code §§ 29-1-8-1) Summary Administration: Yes An estate with up to $50,000 (real and/or personal property), in addition to expenses of administration and reasonable funeral expenses, may qualify for summary administration. ( Ind. Code §§ 29-1-8-3) Informal Probate: No Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Iowa


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $50,000 of personal property may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Iowa Code §§ 633.356) Summary Administration: Yes An estate with up to $100,000 (real and/or personal property) may qualify for summary administration. ( Iowa Code §§ 635.1) Informal Probate: No Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Kansas


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $40,000 of personal property may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 59-1507b) Summary Administration: Yes If an estate value does not exceed the allowances and exemptions in the following statute it may qualify for summary administration. ( Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 59-1507). Informal Probate: No Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Kentucky


Affidavit Procedure: No Summary Administration Process: Yes If the heirs of an estate are a spouse and/or children, up to $15,000 of personal property may qualify for the summary administration process. ( Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 391.030 and Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 395.455) Informal Probate: No Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Louisiana


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $125,000 of personal property may qualify for the affidavit procedure. For this to apply, the decedent must have no Will (or a non-resident may have a Will if probated in another state). ( LA CCP § 3421) Summary Administration: Yes If an estate has no Will, there is limited debt, and if its heirs all agree, it may qualify for summary administration. ( LA CCP § 3001). Informal Probate: No Probate:
-Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Maine


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $40,000 of personal property may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 18-C §§ 3-1201) Summary Administration: Yes If an estate value does not exceed the allowances and exemptions in the following statute it may qualify for summary administration. ( Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 18-C §§ 3-1203 ) Informal Probate: Yes ( Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 18-C §§ 3-301) Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Maryland


Affidavit Procedure: No Summary Administration: Yes An estate with up to $50,000 (real and/or personal property) may qualify for summary administration. If a spouse is the sole heir of an estate, it may qualify up to $100,000. ( Md. Code Ann., [Est. and Trusts] §§ 5-601) Informal Probate: No Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Massachusetts


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $25,000 of personal property and 1 vehicle may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 190B, §§ 3-1201) Summary Administration: Yes If an estate value does not exceed the allowances and exemptions in the following statute it may qualify for summary administration. ( Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 190B, §§ 3-1203) Informal Probate: Yes ( Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 190B, §§ 3-301) Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Michigan


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $24,000 of personal property (i.e. calculated from a baseline of $15,000 which is adjusted annually for inflation) may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 700. 3983) Summary Administration: Yes An estate with up to $24,000 of real property and/or personal property (i.e. calculated from a baseline of $15,000 which is adjusted annually for inflation) may qualify for summary administration. ( Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 700. 3982) Or, if the estate value does not exceed the allowances and exemptions in the following statute it may qualify. ( Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 700. 3987) Informal Probate: Yes ( Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 700. 3301) Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Minnesota


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $75,000 of personal property may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 524.3-1201) Summary Administration: Yes If an estate's value does not exceed the allowances and exemptions in the following statute, it may qualify for summary administration. An estate with up to $150,000 of real and/or personal property, exclusive of exempt homestead and exempt property, may also qualify. ( Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 524.3-1203) I nformal Probate: Yes ( Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 524.3-301) Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Mississippi


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate that has no Will and up to $12,500 in a bank account may qualify for the affidavit procedure. An estate with up to $50,000 of personal property may qualify. ( Miss. Code Ann. §§ 81-14-383 and Miss. Code Ann. §§ 91-7-322) Summary Administration: Yes An estate with up to $500 may qualify for summary administration. ( Miss. Code Ann. §§ 91-7-147) Informal Probate: No Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Missouri


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $40,000 (real and/or personal property) may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Mo. Rev. Stat. § 473.097) Summary Administration: No Informal Probate: No Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Montana


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $50,000 of personal property may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Mont. Code Ann. §§ 72-3-1101) Summary Administration: Yes If an estate value does not exceed the allowances and exemptions in the following statute it may qualify for summary administration. ( Mont. Code Ann. §§ 72-3-1103) Informal Probate: Yes ( Mont. Code Ann. §§ 72-3-213) Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Nebraska


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $100,000 may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 30-24,125 and Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 30-24,129)

  • Personal property can count towards $50,000 of this amount.
  • Real estate can count towards $50,000 of this amount.
Summary Administration: Yes If an estate value does not exceed the allowances and exemptions in the following statute it may qualify for summary administration. ( Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 30-24,127) Informal Probate: Yes ( Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 30-2414) Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Nevada


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $25,000 of personal property (or $100,000 if a spouse is the sole heir) may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 146.080) Summary Administration: Yes An estate with up to $300,000 (real and/or personal property) may qualify for the affidavit procedure. If the sole heirs of an estate are a spouse or minor children, up to $100,000 may qualify. ( Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 145.040 and Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 146.070) Informal Probate: No Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




New Hampshire


Affidavit Procedure: No Summary Administration: Yes If the sole heir and administrator of an estate is a spouse, only child, parent(s), or trust, it may qualify for summary administration. ( N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 553:32) Informal Probate: No Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Any personal property may trigger full probate.




New Jersey


Affidavit Procedure: No Summary Administration: Yes If the sole heir of an estate is a spouse or domestic partner and there is no Will, up to $50,000 (real and/or personal property) may qualify for the summary administration process. ( N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 3B:10-3) If there are other heirs and there is no Will, up to $20,000 (real and/or personal property) may qualify upon the consent of said heirs. ( N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 3B:10-4) Informal Probate: No Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




New Mexico


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $50,000 of personal property may qualify for the affidavit procedure. A homestead co-owned with a spouse as community property can be up to $500,000 to qualify for the affidavit procedure. (N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 45-3-1201 and N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 45-3-1205) Summary Administration: Yes If an estate value does not exceed the allowances and exemptions in the following statute it may qualify for summary administration. ( N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 45-3-1203) Informal Probate: Yes ( N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 45-3-301) Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




New York


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $45,000 of personal property designated to the spouse ($30,000 immediately and $15,000 after at least 30 days) may qualify for the affidavit procedure. An estate with $15,000 of personal property allotted for adult children, parents, siblings, or nieces and nephews may also qualify. ( N.Y. Surr. Ct. Proc. Law § 1310) Summary Administration: Yes An estate with up to $50,000 of personal property and 1 vehicle valued at up to $25,000 may qualify for summary administration. ( N.Y. Surr. Ct. Proc. Law § 1304 and N.Y. Surr. Ct. Proc. Law § 1301) Informal Probate: No Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




North Carolina


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $20,000 of personal property or $30,000 of personal property if a spouse is the sole heir (not counting spousal allowance)may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( N.C. Gen. Stat. § 28A-25-1 and N.C. Gen. Stat. § 28A-25-1.1) Summary Administration: Yes If a spouse is the sole heir of an estate and the decedent had a Will, the estate may qualify for summary administration. ( N.C. Gen. Stat. § 28A-28-1) Informal Probate: No Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Ohio


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $65,000 of vehicles designated for a spouse may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2106.18) Summary Administration Process: Yes An estate with up to $35,000 (real and/or personal property) may qualify for summary administration. If a spouse is the sole heir, or if there is a Will and only one beneficiary, it may qualify up to $100,000. ( Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2113.03) Informal Probate: No Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




North Dakota


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $50,000 of personal property may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( N.D. Cent. Code §§ 30.1-23-01) Summary Administration: Yes If an estate value does not exceed the allowances and exemptions in the following statute it may qualify for summary administration. ( N.D. Cent. Code §§ 30.1-23-03) Informal Probate: Yes ( N.D. Cent. Code §§ 30.1-14-01) Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Oklahoma


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $50,000 of personal property may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Okla. Stat. Ann., tit. 58, § 393) Summary Administration: Yes An estate with up to $150,000 or $200,000 (real and/or personal property) may qualify for the summary administration process. ( Okla. Stat. Ann., tit. 58, § 241 and Okla. Stat. Ann., tit. 58, § 245) Informal Probate: No Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Pennsylvania


Affidavit Procedure: No Summary Administration: Yes An estate with up to $50,000 of personal property may qualify for summary administration. ( 20 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 3102) Informal Probate: No Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Rhode Island


Affidavit Procedure: No Summary Administration: Yes An estate with up to $15,000 of personal property (excluding tangible personal property) may qualify for summary administration. ( R.I. Gen. Laws § 33-24-1) Informal Probate: No Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




South Carolina


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $25,000 of personal property may qualify for the affidavit procedure. (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 62-3-1201) Summary Administration: Yes An estate with up to $25,000 (real and/or personal property) and any additional allowances and exemptions in the following statute may qualify for summary administration. (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 62-3-1203) Informal Probate: Yes (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 62-3-301) Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate. **Website links for South Carolina are not active. Email info@fpm.org if you would like statute page.




South Dakota


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $50,000 of personal property may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( S.D. Codified Laws §§ 29A-3-1201) Summary Administration: No Informal Probate: Yes ( S.D. Codified Laws §§ 29A-3-301) Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Tennessee


Affidavit Procedure: No Summary Administration: Yes An estate with up to $50,000 personal property may qualify for summary administration. ( Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 30-4-102) Informal Probate: No Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Texas


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $75,000 (real and/or personal property) plus any exempt property and homestead allowances may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Tex. Est. Code §§ 205.001) Summary Administration: Yes If an estate does not exceed the amount sufficient to pay claims against certain creditors, (excluding homestead and exempt property as well as family allowances to the decedent’s surviving spouse, minor children, and adult incapacitated children), it may qualify for summary administration. ( Tex. Est. Code §§ 354.001) Informal Probate: Yes ( Tex. Est. Code §§ 401) Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Utah


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $100,000 of personal property and 4 vehicles may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Utah Code Ann. §§ 75-3-1201) Summary Administration: Yes If an estate value does not exceed the allowances and exemptions in the following statute it may qualify for summary administration. ( Utah Code Ann. §§ 75-3-1203) Informal Probate: Yes ( Utah Code Ann. §§ 75-3-204) Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Vermont


Affidavit Procedure: No Summary Administration: Yes An estate with up to $45,000 of personal property may qualify for the affidavit procedure. The estate may also own a timeshare. ( Vt. Stat. Ann., tit. 14, § 1901) Informal Probate: No Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Virginia


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $50,000 of personal property may qualify for the affidavit procedure. Any individual asset valued at $25,000 or less does not need an affidavit. ( Va. Code Ann. §§ 64.2-601 and Va. Code Ann. §§ 64.2-602) Summary Administration: No Informal Probate: No Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




West Virginia


Affidavit Procedure: No Summary Administration: Yes An estate fulfilling any one of these four scenarios may qualify for summary administration. ( W. Va. Code § 44-3A-5)

  • The estate has up to $100,000 of personal property.
  • The personal representative of the estate is the sole heir.
  • A spouse is the sole heir of the estate.
  • The heirs of the estate agree that no disputes are likely and there are enough assets to pay debts.
Informal Probate: No Probate: -Any real estate may trigger full probate. -Personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Wisconsin


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $50,000 (real and/or personal property) may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Wis. Stat. §§ 867.03) Summary Administration: Yes If an estate value does not exceed the allowances and exemptions in the following statute ( Wis. Stat. §§ 867.01), or if the heir is a spouse and/or children and the estate value does not exceed $50,000 (real and/or personal property), it may qualify for summary administration ( Wis. Stat. §§ 867.01) Informal Probate: Yes ( Wis. Stat. §§ 865.01) Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.




Wyoming


Affidavit Procedure: Yes An estate with up to $200,000 of personal property may qualify for the affidavit procedure. ( Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 2-1-201) Summary Administration: Yes An estate with up to $200,000 (real and/or personal property) may qualify for summary administration. ( Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 2-1-205) Informal Probate: No Probate: Real estate and personal property values that exceed the numbers above may trigger full probate.





Definitions

Summary Administration


Summary administration is a simplified probate process for small estates. To use it, an executor files a written request with the local probate court asking to use the simplified procedure. The court may authorize the executor to collect and distribute the assets without having to jump through the hoops of regular probate.




Affidavit Procedure


A procedure that allows inheritors to skip probate altogether when the value of all the assets left behind is less than a certain amount. An inheritor has to prepare a short document, provide some information regarding the deceased person’s estate, and state that he or she is entitled to a certain asset. This document, signed under oath, is called an affidavit. When the person or institution holding the deceased person’s property -- for example, a bank where the deceased person had an account -- gets the affidavit and a copy of the death certificate, it releases the asset.




Probate


Probate is the court-supervised process of gathering a deceased person’s assets and distributing them to creditors and inheritors. Every probate court has its own detailed rules about the documents it requires, what they must contain, and when they must be filed.




Informal Probate


Informal probate involves minimal supervision by the court. It is used when inheritors are getting along and there are no expected problems with creditors. The whole process is paperwork -- there are generally no court hearings by a judge. If anyone wants to contest the proceeding, informal probate cannot be used.





 

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