Must a small estate be probated?

UPDATED: Sep 8, 2014

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Must a small estate be probated?

My mom recently passed and had a Will. She didn’t own any property personal or otherwise. She only had a bank account that is in both of our names. In the Will, she requested that I be the executrix of her estate and that everything should be divided equally among her 3 children. Would I need to file this Will with the courts or can I just divide the money equally between the 3 of us?

Asked on September 8, 2014 under Estate Planning, West Virginia


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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss. The general rule is that you do not have to probate a Will unless it has been filed with the court.  It sounds as if your Mother's Will divides her estate the same way that intestate succession statutes would: equally amongst her heirs. I would just speak with some one on your end about taxes on the money since it was in an account jointly held by the two of you.  That will have a bearing on things. Good luck.

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