When is Probate Court Required?
Generally speaking, Probate Court services are only necessary when a person dies leaving property in his or her own name (such as a house titled only in the name of the decedent) or having rights to receive property (such as wrongful death claim or a debt owed to the decedent.) However, not all property in which the decedent has an interest will be subject to probate. There are four kinds of property which pass to a new owner on death without going through Probate.
Types of Estates
Unsupervised - Informal
Informal Probate is a method of administering an estate of a deceased individual without the intervention of the Probate Judge. Administration of this type of estate should be simpler, faster, and less expensive in addition to offering greater privacy for the decedent’s family.
Requires the Probate Court’s review and approval of much of the estate activities. While the Court’s involvement may add time and expenses, the Court’s supervision will likely afford greater protection to the PR and the other interested persons.
Small estates under $27,000 (2023 value) apply if all of the real and personal property owned by the decedent has a total value equal to or less than the sum of the following: (i) the funeral expenses; plus (ii) $27,000. No Court hearing is held.
Affidavit of Decedent's Successor
If an estate is under $22,000 in value, there is no real property, and it has been more than 28 days after a decedent’s date of death, you may be able to use this form to present to an institution to obtain the funds (i.e., bank, stock company.)