Idaho Law Regarding Death & Probate

By Maggie Lourdes

When an Idaho resident dies, his property may be subject to probate. Probate is the process of transfering ownership of a decedent's property to others. Probate courts appoint executors, also called personal representatives, who have the job of transferring a decedent's property to heirs. Not all estates require probate. Some estate planning tools, called will substitutes, bypass probate court. Trusts and joint tenancies are examples of will substitutes.

When an Idaho resident dies, his property may be subject to probate. Probate is the process of transfering ownership of a decedent's property to others. Probate courts appoint executors, also called personal representatives, who have the job of transferring a decedent's property to heirs. Not all estates require probate. Some estate planning tools, called will substitutes, bypass probate court. Trusts and joint tenancies are examples of will substitutes.

Opening a Probate Estate

Executors are nominated in wills. When the maker of a will dies, the nominee files a probate court petition in the county where the decedent resided. The probate court then appoints the nominee as executor to administer the estate. If a person dies intestate, meaning without a will, the court chooses a personal representative; relatives are preferred, but if none are available, the court can select any competent party to serve.

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Administering a Probate Estate

An executor must notify a decedent's heirs when he opens a probate estate. He must also provide an inventory of the estate's assets and valuations. An executor takes control of estate assets, pays debts and distributes property to heirs. An executor is empowered to do everything necessary to administer an estate, including tasks such as signing property deeds, selling assets, filing tax returns and closing financial accounts.

Different Probate Proceedings

Idaho law permits informal probate proceedings. Informal probate does not require court hearings or judicial supervision. Formal proceedings are more complicated, with the court holding hearings to do things such as determine heirs' rights and confirm the validity of wills. Formal probate proceedings are common when disputes exist between interested parties.

Closing Probate Estates

An Idaho executor closes a probate proceeding by filing a sworn statement that says the executor provided notice to creditors, paid all lawful debts and distributed the decedent's property to the proper heirs. The executor must provide the sworn statement to the estate's heirs and creditors and pay any outstanding court fees before closing an estate.

Considerations

The size of an estate and other individual circumstances can affect probate proceedings. Specific questions about Idaho probate law should be directed to an attorney familiar with the state's requirements.

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References

Related articles

What Does an Executor Need to Inventory for an Estate?

Decedent estates are administered through probate courts by executors or personal representatives. An executor is required to gather estate property, pay debts and distribute assets to the decedent's heirs. Executors also must list the estate's assets for the court and heirs. This is accomplished by completing a court-approved inventory form. When the estate closes, the executor gives a final accounting showing debts and property distributions. States have individual laws governing the specifics for filing estate inventories.

Wills in Probate Court

When a person dies, the instructions in his will must be carried out in probate. Probate is overseen by state courts, and has a twofold purpose: to check that a will meets the requirements for state law, and to ensure that the instructions in the will are followed. How long probate lasts depends on the details involved in each estate.

What Does It Mean if a Will Has Been Probated?

Wills are often thought of as legal documents, but they do not become so until after the testator, or person who created the will, dies. Upon death, the will is activated and the process of settling the estate begins. In many cases, but not all, settling requires probate court. Smaller estates and those that are reasonably safe from being contested often do not require probate, or they can take advantage of a streamlined probate process.

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