If our mother passed away in a nursing home and left virtually no estate, what do we do?

Her real estate had been turned over to her children 15 years ago. She has very little that she owns – probably less than $3000. She has a will which we are going by. We were told recently that we “must” go through a probate. Is it the law that we have to go through probate?

Asked on August 12, 2015 under Estate Planning, West Virginia


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

This is such  small estate that you may be able to avoid probate with basic affidavits of heirship.  If someone is telling you that you "are required" to probate the estate, they may not be attorneys who understand options to probate.  Many attorneys will do free or inexpensive consultations these days... find one that will assist you in reviewing the estate... they should be able to help you draft and file the affidavit of heirship without the expense of probate.  If they do recommend probate, it will be because there are other issues associated with the estate-- for example a huge amount of debt associated with medical bills that need to be resolved. 

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