4 Circumstances Where Will Probate Is Necessary
Creating a valid will that clearly names the beneficiaries of your property and financial assets can avoid problems among family members in the event of your death. However, even if you create a will, probate may be necessary to ensure that certain directives are carried out and that property is properly and legally transferred. As you draft your will, you may want to understand the circumstances under which it may have to go through probate.
- If You Own a Large Estate
Estates with large assets are usually more likely to go through probate than those that are smaller. While each state typically caps the amount, if your estate exceeds $100,000, it may have to pass through probate so the courts can legally transfer real estate and items of value and financial assets, such as savings and stocks, over to your heirs. You can ask your attorney about how laws in your state may affect your will and its assets.
- When Property Is Still in Your Name
Probate may be necessary if you died with any undesignated property owned under your name, as any beneficiaries usually cannot come into possession of an item until it is granted to them by the court. For example, if you own a vacation property in California and you died suddenly without including a directive for who inherits that real estate, your children may have to take the will to probate court to have the deed transferred into their name.
- When There Is No Designated Beneficiary
If you have assets that were not listed in your will or that do name a beneficiary, then your loved ones may have to go through probate before these items of value can be released. Financial accounts, life insurance policies, and retirement accounts may all require a designated beneficiary, even for your spouse or adult children.
- If the Will May Not Be Valid
If your will was still in the drafting stages and you happen to die unexpectedly, the validity of the will may be challenged by one or more individuals who were named beneficiaries of other assets. For instance, if you have children from a second marriage that have not yet been named in the will, they can challenge others in your family for the right to claim certain property. You may want to create a living trust and then add on a pour-over will, which channels any questioned assets into that trust and protects them from false claims or lengthy probate procedures.
While probate may not be necessary for all circumstances pertaining to your will, there may be some instances that require it. Speak with a probate lawyer, like a probate lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ, today to learn more.
Thanks to Klenk Law for their insight into when probate is necessary.