Thank you, L.A.
When someone passes away, then their estate
has to be distributed. The problem is that without probate - with assets such as titled property or bank accounts - this is hard to do. This is because you cannot switch over the assets without an order from the probate court, and simply a Certificate of Death will not do. A Certificate of Death simply states that someone has passed on, but does not give you the right to really do anything in the deceased's name.
So one files probate. Once probate is filed, the Executor of the estate gets something called a Letter of Testament/Administration
(hereinafter "Letter"). This Letter will allow the Executor to switch over the assets from the deceased individual to whoever will own the property. It is like a "Power of Attorney," but from the Court. Without that Letter, there is no way to transfer titled property and switch the assets into the beneficiaries' hands.
At the same time, probate may be filed if non-titled property cannot be agreed upon between beneficiaries.
Now, if in someone's case, there is no titled property, no bank accounts, and no argument as to non-titled property, there really is no reason
to file probate. One can, but, one does not have to. Often, if there were debts, then a creditor could force probate as well. But if he has none, then this is not an issue.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.
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