If my husband’s Will indicates that I am the executor and only heir to all assets, can I skip probate if the estate is small?

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If my husband’s Will indicates that I am the executor and only heir to all assets, can I skip probate if the estate is small?

All assets had a beneficiary except for 1 vehicle in his name only, tax value of less than $5,000. I have been told in order to put the title in my name or sell the vehicle, I must have a letter of testamentary. Why for only $5,000? If so, how do I obtain this form, I do not want to go through probate for such a small amount?

Asked on December 13, 2014 under Estate Planning, North Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  If all of the assets in your husband's estate passed via beneficiary designation or by operation of law (if you held everything jointly as husband and wife) then the only thing that is in his estate is the car.  North Carolina offers a procedure that will allow you to skip probate altogether when the value of all the assets left behind is less than $20,000.  It is called a small estate affidavit. But it's use may depend on the other heirs.  I would pay for a consultation with an estate attorney on a flat rate fee and tell him or her all the facts.  Good luck. 


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