To Probate or Not to Probate

Tip – Depending on current circumstances, you may not need to probate.

Whether you have a Will or don’t have a Will, your estate must be probated if there is property in your estate that someone needs to take care of and distribute to your heirs—such as a home, a bank account, an investment, etc.

When there is a couple, after the first spouse dies, if the surviving spouse wants to stay in the home, he or she doesn’t have to probate unless the house needs to be sold or the spouse wants to take out a mortgage or home equity loan. In that case, there are various legal procedures that can be followed to transfer the deceased spouse’s interest in the home to the surviving spouse. If nothing is done, when the second spouse passes away, then a joint probate is filed.

If the surviving spouse’s circumstances change, the estate of the surviving spouse may not need to be probated. For instance, if the surviving spouse sells the house to live in a facility or to live with someone else, and if the value of the estate is less than $100,000 probate may not be necessary. To accomplish this, you can put a Pay on Death (POD) on your bank account and make sure that you have named beneficiaries on your financial investments and insurance policies.

In Idaho, probate is a quick and easy process. Nevertheless, as time goes by your situation may become more modest, and you may not have to probate if you put a few things in place. It’s a good idea to review your estate planning documents regularly, especially if events such as marriages, divorces, health problems, death of a spouse or significant financial changes occur. This could save you money and make things simpler for your posterity. It could be looked at as one more nice thing you can do for your loved ones.

View our “Senior’s Guide to a Well-Planned Future” on our website! Packer Elder Care Law – with you for life!

Tom Packer is an Elder Law Attorney serving all Southeast Idaho. As part of his law practice, Tom offers Life Care Planning to deal with the challenges created by long-term illness, disability and incapacity. If you have a question about a Senior’s legal, financial or healthcare needs, please call us.

July 2023