My dad is 65 years old and is in the process of dying. He is unmarried, and he has a will, naming my Uncle (his brother) as executor, and has specified that all his possessions are to go to my two sisters and I, to be divided amongst ourselves in whatever manner we choose. The three of us are already pretty much in agreement as to who gets what, as over the years he has promised various things to each of us. He has no real property, and two pensions, the smaller of which my younger sister is the sole benificiary, and the larger of which my older sister and I are joint benificiaries. He also has two junker automobiles, and a small motor boat, which my sisters and I have already come to an agreement as to what to do with. We need to know if the will needs to be probated or not.
If ALL of the assets are personal items, then the answer is probably not. There is likely a simple non-probate process for changing title to the vehicles. Assets that have title, however, may need to be probated. There may be a small estate proceeding, if the value is small enough. Your best bet is to take advantage of a free consultation with a probate attorney to help you figure out what action is needed.
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Family Law Attorney
I agree with attorney Frederick. Small estates can usually be handled by Affidavit or other small estate administration procedures. As your uncle will be executor, he should consult with a probate attorney when the time comes.
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I agree with Mr. Frederick and Ms. Reed. The major assets have probate substitutes (beneficiary designations) and the other assets should be able to be dealt with through the DMV and other substitute procedures.
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