Is Your Estate Subject To Informal Or Formal Probate?

Posted by smith clea on August 26th, 2022

If you’re wondering what the difference between informal probate and formal probate is, here’s your answer.

Informal probate, also known as summary probate, refers to transferring ownership of assets after someone has died without leaving behind a will that specifies how their estate should be divided among heirs and beneficiaries.

Formal probate refers to transferring ownership of assets after someone has died with a will that specifies how their estate should be divided among heirs and beneficiaries.

which results in the property being distributed based on its terms, rather than according to state intestacy laws.

Difference Between Wills And Living Trusts

Wills and living trusts are both ways to transfer your assets after you die, but there are some key differences.

A will must go through probate, which is a court process that can be time-consuming and expensive.

A living trust avoids probate because the assets in the trust are transferred to the beneficiaries outside of probate court.

Another difference is that a will takes effect immediately after you die, while a living trust does not take effect until you die.

Some people choose to have both a will and a living trust in place.

For example, if they have minor children, they want their spouse to become the guardian then they may want a will so that their spouse automatically becomes guardian upon their death without having to go through any type of formal court proceedings.


Examples Of Informal Probate In Family Matters

The death of a family member is always a difficult time.

If the deceased left behind a will, the estate may be subject to informal probate.

This is when the court supervises the distribution of assets according to the will but does not require as much documentation or input from interested parties.

Family members can typically handle this type of probate on their own, without the need for an attorney.


Debts, Taxes, And Funeral Expenses Are Also Handled Differently

When a person dies, their estate must go through probate.

This is the process of distributing the deceased person's assets to their heirs.

The type of probate your estate will go through depends on the size of the estate and whether the deceased person left a will.

If they did not leave a will, then the estate goes through informal probate.

If they did leave a will, then it can be either informal or formal probate depending on its contents.

Many Other Legal Issues Must Be Resolved Via Formal Probate

If your estate is subject to probate, it will either go through the informal or formal probate process.

Formal probate is more expensive and time-consuming than informal probate.

But it may be necessary if there are contested issues or if the estate is large and complex.

If you're unsure which type of probate your estate will go through, an experienced attorney can help you determine which process is best for your situation.

Choosing The Right Alternative For Your Will

If you die without a will in place, your estate will go through the probate process.

In most states, there are two types of probate:  informal and formal.

So, which one is right for your estate? Well, that depends on what type of assets you have and who should be administering them.

Informal probate is less expensive than formal probate and faster.

For estates with only simple assets like bank accounts, stocks, bonds, or personal property (not real estate), informal probate may be enough.

About The Author

Clea Smith is a USA-based author on Legal issues related to estate planning, will & trust, business law, and elder law. Clea Smith does her best writing on these topics that help users to find the best solutions to their FAQ on estate planning attorney, probate, living trust vs will, and more about legal family issues.

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Joined: February 6th, 2020
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