Avoiding Probate Court (Series III) – Procedure of Probating a Will as a Muniment of Title
In our Avoiding Probate Court (Series II) – Small-Estate Affidavits blog, we addressed how to avoid formal court proceedings by preparing and filing a Small Estate Affidavit. This Series III blog, the final of its series, will discuss the procedure of probating a will as a muniment of title as an alternative to formal administration of a decedent’s estate.
To probate a will as a muniment of title, an interested party, usually a beneficiary under the estate, must file an application in the probate court in the county where the deceased resided or passed away. Although it contains the word “probate,” when a will is probated as a muniment of title, the court does not appoint an executor or personal representative to administer the estate. This means that no one is given the legal authority to act on behalf of the estate. As such, probating a will as a muniment of title is only acceptable when the estate has no unpaid debts, other than any debt secured by a lien on real estate, and documentary evidence of title is all that is required to provide continuity of the passing of estate assets.
Once it is determined that a probate as muniment of title is the appropriate course of action, the interested party must file an application, along with decedent’s original Will, in a court with jurisdiction over the matter. Once and if accepted, the applicant will be required to appear before a judge and provide testimony regarding decedent’s estate. Depending upon certain circumstances, the required testimony is often simple and straightforward.
Upon completion of the hearing, the judge will sign an Order approving the probate as a muniment of title. Once received, the Order, along with other certain required documentation, must be filed within the property records of where the application was filed. As mentioned above, while a muniment of title can significantly simplify the probate process, it is only available for certain estates, and strict requirements must be met. During this challenging time, an attorney’s guidance can be invaluable, particularly if you are named the executor of the estate in the will. If you need assistance in probating your loved ones estate as a muniment of title or would like to discuss the intricacies related to such process, the attorneys at our firm are here to assist.
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