When Is Probate Not Necessary?

Generally speaking, probate is the court supervised process necessary when a person passes away owning assets in their own name. If the value of the estate does not exceed your state’s dollar limit, beneficiaries may be able to claim assets using a document called a “small estate affidavit.”

Married couples may be able to avoid probate on the first spouse’s death by using a community property agreement.
Finally, if each asset a person owns includes a beneficiary designation or other automatic “transfer on death” provision, a probate may not be necessary.

Increasingly, states also provide for a transfer on death deed that allows you to designate who will receive real property upon your death, which is revocable at any time and avoids probate for real estate.

Depending on the assets, the family situation and the wishes of the person who has passed, it may be possible to avoid probate. But, sometimes a probate may be the best option. Whether you are planning ahead or dealing with the passing of a loved one, we can help you understand the available options.