Charleston, WV asked in Probate for West Virginia

Q: I am from WV. My dad died recently. I need to know if everyone that dies has to be probated?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Nina Whitehurst
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  • Probate Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: The purpose of probate is to retitle assets owned by a deceased person. If a person dies owning nothing, then no probate is required (with vary rare exceptions). This may sound impossible to you, but actually it is surprisingly common.

A perfect example is the person who engaged in trust-based estate planning. That person dies owning nothing because everything is owned by his trust. Hence, no probate is required.

Another example is the person who rented his home and leased his car and designated beneficiaries in advance for his bank and brokerage accounts and life insurance and owned personal property of negligible value (nobody fighting over it). Again, no probate because no assets to probate.

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