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Question

To probate or not to probate?

My mother recently passed away in the same county she resided in for the past 40 years. We updated her Estate Plan in 2008 and placed her principal asset--her house--into an Irrevocable Trust to avoid taxes and probate.

No titled property, so her estate consists of an estate sale, handful of financial accounts, a raw land plot outside the state, and credit card debt. All told, her estate is worth negative -$5,000.

The will is valid and the named heirs--all of whom will receive equal shares from the sale of the house--indicate no intention to contest the distribution.

Most area attorneys want $2,500 to probate; some have advised just walk away. Can we?

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