Must a small estate go through probate?

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Must a small estate go through probate?

My ex-husband just passed away. He has 3 adult children with me that are his immediate heirs. I do not know if he has a Will or not but his only major asset is a 34 ft sailboat located in another state. We are trying to secure authority over the boat and will be there next week. I need to know if we will have to go through probate? I also need to know what legal documents I need to provide harbormaster to gain authority of the boat to have it moved, cleaned, and sold. I also have a major stake in the boat as he owes me over 1$20,000 in back child support.

Asked on May 7, 2013 under Estate Planning, Hawaii

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  If there is property in another state then you may have no choice but to open a small estate to have Letters of Administration issued to one of the kids in order to gain possession of the boat.  Normally in Hawaii you have the option of an Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property if the estate is valued under $100,000 and contains no real property (house or land).  I would speak with an attorney in your state on a consultation basis.  It could save you a lot of money.  Good luck.


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