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My husband died a few weeks ago and left no will and no assets. The local court told me I do not need to go through probate.

Herndon, VA |

They said to just send each debtor a copy of the death certificate. He had no money in any checking or savings account as he had been ill and out of work for almost a year. The only asset is a house that is not worth what is owed on it. The house is titled in both our names but the loan was solely in his. Can someone tell me IF i need to go through probate.

Attorney Answers 2


Based on what you have said, probate does not seem to be necessary. Probate is required to give someone legal authority to transfer title to the assets in a decedent's name. If all of the assets were jointly held or named you as beneficiary, then you would now be the sole owner, and there would be nothing left for the probate court to do.

In light of your husband's death, you should consult with an estate planning attorney to make sure that your estate planning is all in order and does not need to be adjusted.

I am very sorry for your loss.

James Frederick

*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.

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Mr. Frederick's answer was spot on. I would simply clarify that you want to send a copy of the death certificate to your husband's creditors not debtors. If your husband had debtors, that means that the debtors owed your husband money, not the other way around.

When responding to questions posted on Avvo, I provide a general purpose response based on California law as I am licensed in California. In reviewing my response, you are specifically advised that your use of, or reliance upon any response I provide is not advisable. I do not have all relevant background details or facts related to your issue / matter, thus I am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, your review, use of, or reliance upon my response does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us nor does it qualify as a legal consultation for any purpose. For specific advice regarding your particular circumstances, you should consult and retain local counsel.

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James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick


Good catch!

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