Is Probate Required for a Surviving Spouse?

The unthinkable just happened. Your husband or wife just passed away, either expectedly or unexpectedly. Your spouse had everything updated and had a Will. So are you, the surviving spouse, required to go through Probate?

There are few scenarios that frustrated clients more than when they learn that the client has a 6-month long probate legal proceeding ahead of them, which is required to move the deceased spouse’s property and possessions into the name of the surviving spouse. Especially, when they believe that they had everything “taken care” of.

Most Idahoans believe that the living spouse is automatically entitled to all of the deceased spouse’s property and that the Probate process will NOT be required.

Unfortunately, that is not the case.  Unless the spouse who passed away took special steps to avoid the probate requirement, it will be necessary even if the surviving spouse is legally entitled to inherit everything. However, creating a Will is not a special step to avoid Probate.

A special step that is used most often, and is the most effective, to avoid probate is to set up a Revocable Living Trust or Revocable Family Trust.