It is true that a typical probate administration of an estate takes a little over a year from start to finish. But, if an estate is small, Probate can be done in six (6) weeks or less! This depends upon when the decedent passed, who paid funeral expenses and who are the next of kin.
Summary Release from Administration. A Summary Release is reserved for the very small estates. This process can be used by a surviving spouse if the decedent’s estate is less than $40,000.00 or by an individual who pays the decedent’s funeral bill (often a child or sibling) if the estate is less than $5,000.00. Once the necessary paperwork is submitted to the Probate Court, the spouse or payer of the funeral bill receives authority to take the decedent’s assets normally within a week.
Release from Administration / Release of Assets. A Release of Assets is and expedited proceeding for slightly larger estates. A spouse can use this procedure if the decedent’s estate is less than $100,000.00 and a non-spouse can use this procedure if the decedent’s estate is less than $35,000.00. Again, necessary paperwork is filed with the Probate Court and proof of payment of the funeral bill must be presented. If the decedent passed away more than 6 months before the filing, the Court will often grant possession of the decedent’s assets within a few weeks. If the decedent died within 6 months of the filing, then possession of the assets will be granted in approximately 6 weeks (after any potential creditors have been notified of the filing).
The ins and outs of small probate estates are not always easy to understand. However, the purpose of this article is to show that it IS possible to administer an asset through Probate Court in a timely manner.