DailyStrength will be undergoing a scheduled site upgrade, starting Monday, June 27 beginning at 7am EDT (4am PDT). This should take approximately 28 hours to complete. During that time, you will not be able to register as a new member or make any new posts.

More DailyStrength
Health Event Calendar
See what's new on the site
Step-by-step Tutorials
How to use DailyStrength
We're on Facebook
Check out our page
Follow us on Twitter
Read our tweets
Get Cool DS Stuff!!!!!
Shirts, Hats, Baby Wear
Probate? Lawyer?
Watch this 
View More Posts Ignore
I was the sole beneficiary on my Hubby's life insurance. Our bank account is joint with right to survivorship. Ditto the house deed with a joint mortgage. Cars jointly titled. In other words, he did not own anything that I do not also own.

He had some debts that were not joint (credit cards), but I am paying those of & obtaining a letter from each creditor saying they have no further claim.

Hubby had a will made years ago (naming only me), but I have not been able to find it yet. Since he did not have an estate in terms of non-jointly held assets, is probate really necessary?

And if so, can't I file the simple small-estate form available in my state?

Is there any real reason I need to hire a lawyer?
Posted on 09/15/10, 08:06 am
13 Replies | Most Recent Add Your Advice
Reminder: This is a support group for Widows & Widowers. We trust you will do your best to remain positive and helpful. For more information, see our rules of the road.

You may also create your own Member Groups where you can moderate the discussion.
Email me when others reply to this topic help
View More Posts Ignore
Reply #1 - 09/15/10  10:23am
" Inheritance laws vary in different states. My situation was somewhat similar to yours and I had a will. I went to a lawyer and had to go through probate. Did not have to pay inheritance taxes as the law changed awhile back raising the amount you had to have very high before you had to pay taxes. Life insurance was not included in the probate, but home, vehicles, bank accounts, etc. were. May want to schedule a consultation with a lawyer to see what has to be done in your state. Take care, Sandra "
View More Posts Ignore
Reply #2 - 09/15/10  2:20pm
" I would think you would only need probate if there was any dispute on the property. If you are paying off debts in his name only and everything is clear I would seen no reason for probate. "
View More Posts Ignore
Reply #3 - 09/15/10  3:16pm
" I think the answer is yes, which is good in California, where the costs for probating are relatively enormous. Everything passes to you automatically by operation of law (contract law, beneficiary designation, etc) and all that's left is the personal property (his clothes), which are probably under the threshhold. SInce the estate doesn't have to go through probate because of no probatable assets and it's all passing to the surviving spouse, you should be able to file the expedited paperwork. "
View More Posts Ignore
Reply #4 - 09/18/10  11:02pm
" You do not owe on the credit cards in your husband's name only - they will be dismissed. My husband had no will and there was no reason for me to hire a lawyer or do anything else. Car titles can remain in your husband's name unless you want to sell them. (In my state it is $200 to change the title.) I was advised not to do anything about anything (bank, mortgage, etc.) for at least a year and I have not changed the names on anything - and it has been 10 months now. Everything automatically goes to the wife without a will - I don't know why you need to do anything. "
View More Posts Ignore
Reply #5 - 09/19/10  9:01am
" Since every state has different laws with regard to probate and how a deceased person's estate is to be handled, so this is a question that cannot be answered with any degree of certainty by anyone unless they reside in your state and are in fact an attorney. After what is happening to me with two 40+ estranged sons, who for about 14 years did not have a relationship with their father, who never invited their father to any of their combined four children's birthday, etc., I would strongly suggest that you do speak with an attorney to make sure that you proceed correctly and within the law. This is the first time in my life that I am a client, fortunately my lawyer is someone I have known for over 20+ as I worked for her and she has been very conservative with her fees -- but it is nevertheless money that I will not see again. To put it mildly, it sucks because my years of productive earning is not the same than it was 15 years ago when my husband and I opened our little company. That being said, from your question I gather that you have some "concern" over something -- certain things should remain private -- so, my personal, experienced answer is yes, absolutely. In the long-term you will not regret it. Best of luck to you as this is not easy when we have to look at our deceased love one in terms of paper and numbers!!! Many blessings! "
View More Posts Ignore
Reply #6 - 09/19/10  7:36pm
" As you jointly owned everything....you do not need to file probate. As your bank account has the right to survivorship clause.....you really don't need to do anything. An attorney will just take your money..as will the court system. You are not responsible for any debt not in your name. I have had to file nothing as there is no mortgage on the farm and vehicles/motorcycle are in joint title. I only have to get a new title if I sell one of them. Do use caution with attorneys that prey upon widows. My advice comes from the military and I trust them more than someone that wants me to pay them big bucks to straighten out my affairs. Kaaren "
View More Posts Ignore
Reply #7 - 09/20/10  1:48am
" I did the death claims at work. Here in PA, you would not need a lawyer or probate it. Evrything will pass to you as joint. You do NOT have to pay any credit cards or anything in his name alone. The companies know that too but if you are sending in payments, believe me they will still accept them, rather than write the whole account off. I would stop paying them immediatley & they can do nothing about it. "
View More Posts Ignore
Reply #8 - 09/20/10  2:10am
" Cats,
I do not know where you live, but I do not think their is any reason to probate anything, in most states, or go to court, unless your assets exceed 3.5 million $$.
If you want to set your mind at rest, you can see an attorney, but in my case, I did absolutely nothing in terms of filing, and there has been no problem. All I have to file is his will, when my own trust becomes finalized - nothing else. I now own our home, our car, our debts. Life just goes on like before, unfortunately.
Best to you. "
View More Posts Ignore
Reply #9 - 09/25/10  11:05am
" If you have been able to get to every account and investment that he owned and no one is asking for formal paperwork, you should be just fine. I had to file as "personal representative" for my husband as my name was not listed on all his accounts or property. We were married less than 2 yrs when he passed and hadn't gotten around to changing all the paperwork yet. "
View More Posts Ignore
Reply #10 - 11/01/10  8:38pm
" As others have posted each state is different. We had right to survivorship on everything. Had no morgage on our home and land. Vehicles were joint title too. Hubby had will but left me everything as I did same in my will if I had been the one who had went first. I did call our lawyer he said no need for probate in our case. "

First | Previous | Page: 1 2 | Next | Most Recent Add Your Advice

More From Around the Web