Do you need to probate a Will?

My husband’s father just passed away last week. My husband is the

executor of his estate. Just days prior to his passing, he and his wife were

finally approved for Medicaid, retroactive to about 6 months ago. They are/were 92 years old and live in an assisted living community. All of their money has been spent down and there is nothing left, no assets. The

income he received social security, and 2 pensions that were put into a QIT

account monthly was used to pay the community, health insurance, and

prescription drugs each month. Do we have to probate the Will? We were told by the county surrogate that it must be probated. That we have to come in

and sit down and it will be reviewed and they will then tell us what has to be

done and the cost but that it needs to be probated. Is this correct?

Asked on September 18, 2018 under Estate Planning, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Wills are enforced  and become legally operative through the probate process; you MUST probate a will to give it effect and carry out its provisions, including appointing an executor, distributing any assets to heirs and beneficiaries, etc. An unprobated will has no effect.


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