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Sudden Wealth Blog

Understanding Where Probate is Necessary

Photo of a lawyer at desk. Where is probate necessary?

Probate is the legal process of administering a deceased person’s estate. It’s not always necessary, but in certain circumstances, it’s required by law. If you’re unsure where probate is necessary, this guide can help you understand the circumstances in which it’s required and the steps you need to take.

What is probate?

Probate is the legal process of administering a deceased person’s estate. This includes identifying and valuing the deceased person’s assets, paying any outstanding debts or taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries named in the deceased person’s will or, if there is no will, according to state law. The probate process is overseen by a court and can take several months to complete.

When or where is probate necessary?

Probate is necessary when a person dies with assets that are solely in their name and there is no beneficiary designation or joint owner. This includes assets such as real estate, bank accounts, and investments. If the deceased person had a will, the court will use it to determine how to distribute the assets. If there is no will, state law will dictate how the assets are distributed. It’s important to note that not all assets are subject to probate, such as assets held in a trust or with a designated beneficiary.

What assets are subject to probate?

Assets that are solely in the name of the deceased person and do not have a designated beneficiary or joint owner are subject to probate. This includes real estate, bank accounts, investments, and personal property. However, assets held in a trust or with a designated beneficiary are not subject to probate. It’s important to review your assets and ensure that they have designated beneficiaries or joint owners to avoid the probate process.

How to start the probate process.

If you determine that probate is necessary, the first step is to file an application or petition with the probate court in the county where the deceased person lived. The court will then appoint an executor or personal representative to manage the estate. The executor will be responsible for identifying and valuing assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing assets to beneficiaries according to the will or state law. It’s important to work with an experienced probate lawyer to ensure that the process is handled correctly and efficiently.

How to navigate probate court.

Navigating probate court can be a daunting task, but with the right guidance, it can be manageable. The first step is to understand the probate process and what is required of you as the executor or personal representative. It’s important to gather all necessary documents and information, such as the will, death certificate, and list of assets and debts. Working with an experienced probate attorney can also help ensure that you are following all necessary steps and avoiding any potential legal issues.

Let Us Help You With Your Probate.

Are you uncertain about whether probate is necessary for your situation? Don’t navigate the complexities of probate alone. At Sudden Wealth Protection Law, our experienced probate lawyers are here to provide you with the guidance and expertise you need. We understand that the probate process can be confusing and overwhelming, but our team is dedicated to helping you understand when probate is necessary and how it applies to your unique circumstances. With our assistance, you can make informed decisions and ensure a smooth administration of your loved one’s estate. Contact us today at 602-443-4888 to schedule a consultation and let us help you navigate the probate process with confidence and peace of mind.


Founding attorney Paul Deloughery has been an attorney since 1998, became a Certified Family Wealth Advisor. He is also the founder of Sudden Wealth Protection Law.