Losing a loved one is a sad and difficult time for family, relatives, and friends. In addition, those left behind must often figure out how to transfer or inherit property from the person who has died. To do this, you must usually go to court. And dealing with the courts and the property of someone who has died is very complicated. Sometimes, however, family or relatives may be able to transfer property from someone who has died without going to court. But it is not always easy to tell whether you need to go to court (probate process) or qualify to use a different procedure.
If the total value of these assets is $150,000 or less and 40 days have passed since the death, you can transfer personal property by writing an affidavit. There is a special form for this that you can get from most banks. Refer to additional information below.
Probate is when the court supervises the processes that transfer legal title of property from the estate of the person who has died (the “decedent”) to his or her beneficiaries. The cost of probate is set by state law. When all the costs are added up – these may include appraisal costs, executor’s fees, court filing fees and certified copies, costs for a type of insurance policy known as a “surety bond,” plus legal and accounting fees–probate can cost from 4% to 7% of the total estate value, sometimes more. If someone contests the Will, there could be thousands of dollars of litigation costs.
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