If my mom passed away without a Will and nothing of value except company stocks valuing less than $10,000, do I have to go through probate?

She had always mentioned that she wanted the stocks to split between her 2 grandchildren. Can I just give it to them? She left a credit card bill. My dad is still alive.

Asked on February 12, 2015 under Estate Planning, New York


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your Mom.

Her estate is too small for probate.  Probate is only required for large estates.

The problem however is that since she did not leave a Will, the rules of intestate succession determine inheritance.  Intestate means dying without a Will.

Under intestate succession, the surviving spouse inherits your Mom's entire estate.  Therefore, your Dad inherits the stock.  If he agrees in writing to give the stock to the grandchildren, that may resolve the issue, but he is not required to do that.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.