Summer is nearly here and our office is a buzz with excitement. As summer plans get made, some more adventurous then others, it's not uncommon for clients to come to us about getting their estate planning done just in case their plans to paraglide over Lake Coeur d'Alene, drag race down Sherman Ave, or scale Chimney Rock don't go as planned. If you still need to get your estate planning done, don't wait. It won't take long and you'll be relieved when you're done.
This month's topic, probate. What is and how it works. We know, it's not exciting, but important all the same. Next month, we'll discuss trusts in more detail and how to avoid probate.
WHAT IS PROBATE?
The formal process that gives legal recognition to a Will and appoints a personal representative who can administer a decedent’s estate and settle their affairs.
WHEN MUST PROBATE BE STARTED?
Within three (3) years of the decedent’s death. This includes the death of a spouse who has left everything to their surviving spouse; in such circumstances the estate may still need to be probated or a summary administration filed.
HOW IS PROBATE STARTED?
The original Will must be filed with an Idaho court. Once the Will is validated by the court, probate will open and the personal representative will receive authority (referred to as letters testamentary) to administer the estate.
HOW LONG DOES PROBATE TAKE?
Idaho law requires probate to remain open for a minimum of six (6) months. This ensures creditors, heirs, beneficiaries, and other interested parties have enough time to bring claims against the decedent’s estate before it closes.
WHAT DOES THE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE DO?
The personal representative settles the decedent’s affairs, which include, but are not limited to, securing property, distributing property and assets, paying off creditors, closing accounts, and filing taxes.
MUST CREDITORS BE NOTIFIED?
The estate is required to publish notice of probate in a local newspaper for three (3) consecutive weeks. Creditors have four (4) months from the first publishing date to file a claim against the estate.
WHEN CAN PROPERTY BE DISTRIBUTED?
Estate property can ordinarily be distributed to beneficiaries once the four (4) month creditor waiting period has expired and creditor claims have been paid or settled.
MUST BENEFICIARIES BE NOTIFIED?
Beneficiaries must be given notice of probate within thirty (30) days of probate commencing.
CAN ESTATE PROPERTY BE SOLD DURING PROBATE?
Yes. The personal representative has broad discretion when determining what to do with estate property, which includes selling it to satisfy debts or simplify its distribution to beneficiaries.
WHAT IS A SUMMARY ADMINISTRATION?
An abbreviated and less expensive probate available to surviving spouses when they are the sole beneficiary of the decedent’s estate. It takes on average 6-8 weeks. Surviving spouses agree to be liable for their spouses debts and liabilities if they choose this route.
WHAT IS A SMALL ADMINISTRATION?
Estates valued under $100,000 can file an affidavit attesting to its value and avoid going through an entire probate saving significant time and money.
Meet Our Estate Planner
Brian Bean is a Coeur d'Alene native and graduate from Gonzaga University Law School ('10) in Spokane, Washington, the same school his father, Charles Bean, graduated from in 1976. He is an experienced estate planner and is passionate about establishing the right estate plan for his clients. He is also a husband and father to two very energetic elementary school students. In his free time, he coaches youth soccer, enjoys golfing, skiing, and mountain biking.
Charles Bean & Associates, PLLC
Charles Bean & Associates has proudly served our area for over 45 years where it has been a dedicated advocate of its clients and proud partner to the community we all love. Our attorneys provide an array of legal services including estate planning, real estate, business, worker compensation, personal injury, and social security disability.