Father died 4 years ago mother still alive does his will need to be probated – they owned everything jointly.

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Father died 4 years ago mother still alive does his will need to be probated – they owned everything jointly.

Asked on June 18, 2009 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If all assets were held jointly, then no, probate is not required.  If anything was not jointly held or a beneficiary otherwise named (for example, as with a life insurance policy), then as to those assets, probate would be needed.  It should be noted, that simplified probate procedures are available in Pennsylvania if the estate is under a certain dollar amount.

However, since so much time has gone by, I assume that if there were any other assets other than those jointly held you'd know by now.

As for estate planning for your mother's estate, joint ownership would help avoid probate as well.  Other ways to work around probate are to use such vehicles as a living trust, payable-on-death designations for C/D's and other bank accounts, or transfer-on-death designations for stocks, bonds, and other securities.


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