As you may know, probate is the process of proving if a loved one’s will is valid before beginning the administration of their estate or if a probate, without a will is required. There is often a lot of anxiety surrounding this process.
However, some people might wonder if probate is even necessary. To determine the answer, it often helps to understand when it may not be a requirement. Here are some of the critical factors that will determine if probate is not required.
The value of the estate
In California, if the value of your loved one’s estate is less than $184,500, then the formal process of probate may not be necessary. Of course, there are other details you must consider in these situations, as The Judicial Probate Branch of California explains, but the estate may qualify for a simplified process either via another type of petition or by completing other appropriate forms outside of court if the value totals less than $184,500.
The estate planning tools used
Perhaps your loved one specifically, strategically planned to avoid probate. For example, probate may not be necessary if he/she made use of:
- Beneficiary designations
- Changes to deed
These tools can pass property to beneficiaries directly. However, you or your loved one must prepare very carefully using these tools. It will help immensely to obtain experienced guidance to ensure there are no issues in the plan to avoid probate.
How your loved one owned property
If your loved one owned property jointly with a spouse or another family member, that may also mean that assets will not have to go through the probate process.
Regardless of whether you are creating an estate plan, you are faced with the question “is probate required,” or if you are managing the estate of a loved one who’s passed away, it helps to obtain knowledgeable guidance from a legal professional.