Must all Willsbe submitted forprobate?

UPDATED: Aug 15, 2011

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Must all Willsbe submitted forprobate?

My parents have 3 children. We will share their estate as outlined in their Wills. Their house and car include my sister’s name on the title. The weapons and tools are willed to my brother. Their funds are in CD’s and have POD names. Their funeral expenses have been prepaid. I am listed in their Wills as executor of their estate. DoI still need to deal with probate?

Asked on August 15, 2011 Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you do need to deal with probate, unfortunately. Probate is the process of validating and enforcing the will. Among other things, it is what will make the dispositions of property set out in the will enforceable--e.g. it will transfer ownership.

If there are no challenges to the will, no disputes over its validity, etc., then probate should be a relatively painless procedure--a little time, some paperwork, etc., but not real issues. Apart from the delay it imposes, there shouldn't be any real consequences. Only when there is some challenge or question does probate become an issue. For your own future, if you wish certain assets to be transfered outside of probate, you need to put them into a trust made while you are alive; or gift them outright while you alive; or hold the asset with someone else in joint ownership with right of survival (as a married couple typically owns a home; or as a joint bank account), so on the death of one, it goes automatically to the other.

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