Q: My mom passed, only had joint checking with me, only adult child. Is probate needed? She has a small unsecured personal
A: The short answer is maybe. If the checking account was jointly owned with rights of survivorship it will not need to go through probate in order for the account to be transferred into your name. The other thing to keep in mind is that creditors have 6 months from the date of passing to present a claim to the administrator of her estate. They have the ability to open a probate estate specifically for that purpose. I recommend sitting down with an attorney to go through the specifics in detail.
A: I bet that you're good to go. Take the money from the account and don't talk to any creditors. Creditors can file a claim against the estate, but if the checking account had survivorship rights, then it's unlikely they will get anything. And, in my experience, unsecured creditors rarely open estates on their own when the decedent didn't own any real estate. If there's a will, you may want to file it for the record just to be safe.
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