In Idaho, Probate is required under one of two circumstances. One, as an individual you own any interest in real property. Or, two, as an individual you own more than $100,000.00 in probate-able assets. I referenced holding assets as “an individual” because there are other ownership options that allow you the opportunity to avoid Probate.
So, what if your estate does not meet either of these criteria? Is Probate required?
In Idaho, the law allows for the collection and disposition of assets through a Small Estate Affidavit, found under Idaho Code 15-3-1201. In addition to the asset requirement, the affiant must swear to additional information as well.
The law does allow for the avoidance of Probate, but that may not always be your best option. Consider three potential outcomes.
First, did the deceased person have a Will? If so, the provisions of that Will must be carried out. By avoiding Probate, you also avoid the neutral party in the Judge of ensuring that the provisions of your Will are followed. That way your last wishes still have a voice. Otherwise, a potential arises of someone filing a contest.
Second, did the deceased person have debts? If so, the Probate process can allow for the elimination of some of those debts through a notice to creditors and the 4 month limitation on claims that accompanies the notice. If you proceed with the Small Estate Affidavit, you do not benefit from this limitation on filing a claim. Also, if you collect and spend all of the assets in which a creditor has priority, you may be required to refund the creditor long after you spent the money.
Third, did the deceased person have assets outside of the State of Idaho? The other state might not acknowledge the Idaho Small Estate Affidavit.
I understand that the popular thought is to avoid Probate. There are options available to you, including the Small Estate Affidavit, but a better understanding of topic is urged before proceeding. If you believe the estate of a loved one is eligible to avoid Probate, call Jeppesen Law today at 208-477-1785 for a free consultation and we can cover your options.