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John Elder
John Elder, Estate & Elder Law
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4631
Experience:  Over 14 years experience in Medicaid, Estates, Trust.
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In the State of Missouri, do I need to file an estate of under

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In the State of Missouri, do I need to file an estate of under $25,000. in probate if everything in the will was left to named persons?
Welcome! Thank you for your question. I am happy to answer your question. I need a bit more information first.

Please describe the actual assets of the deceased.

Are there cars, bank accounts, stocks, real estate, etc?

I need to know how these assets are titled. The sole name of the deceased, joint names, joint with rights of survivorship, beneficiary designation, payable on death?

Thank you


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The house has a beneficiary deed, the bonds with payable on death, the 2001 Buick Century had no one but the deceased but but given to her Grand-daughter-in-law in the will. She was a widow with her only child, deceased. The bank account had POD on them.

Sorry for the delayed response. I had to step away from my desk. I am working on a full response right now.



So the thing to remember is that the language in the Will does not have anything to do with whether you file for probate or not.


What controls if probate is necessary is the ownership of the assets. The majority of the assets are POD, joint or beneficiary and those assets pass automatically to the named beneficiaries on the assets or under the contract with the bank without the need for probate.


The one asset that you described that does not pass automatically is the 2001 Buick. Since the car is titled solely in the decease's name it does require some type of action through the probate court to transfer the title.


The method needed with the probate court should be relatively simple since the only asset that will require probate is the Buick. The method that you would use is the small estate affidavit. You will need to go to the probate court in the county where the grandparent lived and request to file a small estate affidavit.


If the total net amount of assets to be probated is less then $40,000, then you can use the small estate affidavit. A Small Estate Affidavit is an instrument filed with the Probate Court. and is one of several "short forms" of probate available. This tool is commonly used where an asset, such as a car or small life insurance policy, is overlooked in a larger estate plan.


In the affidavit you simply state the decedent's name, date of death, and other relevant information, and identify the heirs. You then list what the decedent owned that is subject to probate, (based on the information provided that would be the car only) and to whom the decedent owed money. Many Courts require you to submit a copy of the death certificate and proof that the funeral bill has been paid in full.


You must wait at least 30 days after death to file a Small Estate Affidavit in Missouri.

In most Missouri Courts the filing fee is $65, and, of course, you will need to pay for the publication, and for your lawyer. If there is a will to be admitted to Probate then the fees will be slightly higher.


After the requirements are met, the "Affiant", or person submitting the affidavit receives a Certificate from the court. By using this certificate the affiant can collect or sell the property/money as appropriate, pay the bills, and then distribute the remainder to the heirs, or as designated in the Will.


Here is a sample small estate affidavit that you can use to start with.



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