Probate is the court-supervised process of distributing an individual’s estate to heirs, paying off debts, and liquidating assets upon passing. The process, which can take several months and can cost into the thousands. What many people don’t know, however, is that this process can be avoided altogether with proper estate planning. An experienced Coeur d’Alene probate attorney can help. Evergreen Elder law offers free consultations both in-person at our Coeur d’Alene office and online.
Depending on the type of assets you own, you may be able to reduce what passes through probate, or even avoid the process entirely. Jointly-held assets, such as Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), certain estates valued at less than $100,000, and items that are held in a Revocable Trust can be excluded from probate. In Idaho, you may be able to protect bank accounts and real property from probate by making a deed with right to survivorship or payable-on-death designation.
An experienced Coeur d’Alene probate lawyer will analyze your situation to determine your potential exposure to this process and create a strategy for effectively reducing or eliminating the need to endure it.
What is a Probate in Idaho?
The probate process is the process of obtaining authority to distribute assets and pay all debts of an estate.
The probate process consists of:
- filing a petition with the court to appoint a personal representative
- paying off debts
- distributing assets
- filing an inventory of the estate
- closing the probate
Probate can be a lengthy and costly process. A Probate with no hiccups can take about six months. A Probate with problems or contentions can take even longer. Appropriate Estate Planning can prevent friends and family from having to go through the probate process, however, if a Probate is necessary our probate attorneys can guide you each step of the way and help make an unfortunate situation a little less difficult.
What is the Affidavit Procedure?
The affidavit procedure is essentially a probate shortcut available in Idaho when the fair market value of certain assets, that would otherwise pass through probate, is below $100,000. This would not apply to real property, such as a home or land, unless it is already protected from probate by joint tenancy or a living trust.
Frequently Asked Questions About Probate in Coeur d’Alene, ID
Is Probate Necessary?
Not always. In some cases, probate can be avoided entirely with proper estate planning.
What Happens During a Typical Probate Process?
Generally speaking, the probate process includes identifying and valuing the decedent’s assets and debts, paying off debts, liquidating assets, and distributing assets to beneficiaries.
What Assets Can Avoid Probate?
Most jointly-held assets, such as real estate, beneficiary designation assets such as IRA’s, as well as items held in a Revocable Trust, and some estates valued below $100,000 can avoid probate. You may also be able to protect bank accounts and other real property with a payable-on-death or right of survivorship designation.
Can a House Be Sold During Probate?
The short answer is yes, a house can be sold during probate, and people often do this to cover the cost of probate. However, the proceeds won’t necessarily be distributed as one might expect. Once the house is sold, and the proceeds are utilized to cover estate debts and probate costs, any remaining profits will be distributed among beneficiaries.
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney For the Probate Process?
Although you are not required by law to hire an attorney for probate, it is likely in your best interest to do so. Probate is a complex and potentially costly process that can put unnecessary stress on the mental and financial health of everyone involved. An experienced probate attorney can help you create an estate plan that reduces or eliminates your exposure to probate.
How Can You Avoid Probate in Idaho?
Avoiding probate in Idaho is possible with proper estate planning. One of the many options for avoiding probate is to protect all assets in a living trust, or to utilize the affidavit procedure, when applicable.
Contact a Coeur d’Alene Probate Lawyer Today
If you would like to learn how to avoid the lengthy, costly process of probate, the skilled legal team at Evergreen Elder Law can help. We will review your unique situation and guide you through every step of the process. Contact us today for a confidential consultation about your case.