Is there a way to avoid public probate procedure if a parent passes away without a will?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Is there a way to avoid public probate procedure if a parent passes away without a will?

Is there a way to avoid public probate procedure in Idaho if a parent passes away without a will? And if siblings can come to an agreement on equal estate distribution? We want to respect our parent’s privacy, and avoid having everything made publicly. Thanks.

Asked on August 9, 2019 under Estate Planning, Idaho


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Legally, you can only avoid probate if everything had been already either owned jointly between your parent and you and your siblings (e.g. you and your siblings were already on his/her bank accounts, title of houses or cars, etc.), since probate is required to legally change title from the deceased to the beneficiaries. So if title has to be changed or transferred, you need the probate process.
Or if there is no assets that have title--e.g. no car, no house, no bank account--but only assets where there is no record of who owns what--e.g. personal possessesions, cash kept in the house, etc.---you could as a practical matter divide them up equitably and not bother with probate. It's not technically proper to do that, you need to bear in mind, since even without "title" those possessions belonged to your parent, not you, but as a practical matter, this happens all the time when you don't need legal authorization to transfer title and the cost of probate would be prohibitive.  

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