Many people don’t think about probate until they’re going through it themselves. It can be a complicated process, so many fail to properly plan their estate to avoid putting their loved ones through probate. However, what many don’t know is how much an estate needs to be worth in order to go through probate in Missouri. 

probate in missouri

What is Probate?

Probate is the legal process that happens after someone dies without a will. It’s a way of distributing a deceased person’s property and assets that aren’t otherwise designated in a way that complies with Missouri probate law.  The decedent’s property and assets can include anything that is only in his or her name. A probate estate is required to go through Missouri probate court in order to determine how the assets are distributed. 

Probate in Missouri: How It Works

In most cases, most estates with no will are required to go to probate in Missouri. Some estates with a will may still be required to probate if some assets aren’t named in the will and no beneficiaries are named. In order to go through the standard probate process in Missouri, an estate must be worth $40,000 or more. Those valued under $40,000 may go through simplified probate to distribute the assets. 

Types of Probate

Depending on the type of probate estate, the court can handle it in a few different ways. First, the court may supervise some or all of the formal probate process and facilitate the distribution of assets and property. In some circumstances, all living heirs are able to come to an agreement, in which case the estate goes through independent probate. 

Cost of Probate in Missouri

Missouri courts have several classifications of fees depending on the type of estate they’re handling. Court fees, administrative and filing fees, and other costs can add up quickly; that’s not to mention the amount of time it takes. Probate isn’t always a simple process, and waiting times can add to the length of probate administration. It must be handled at the county court in which the decedent held property, and if multiple properties are owned in different counties, there may be separate probate court cases. 

Probate Timeline

The time limit to file for probate is one year after the decedent’s death. Once probate court begins, the entire process typically takes between six months and one year. The length of time to probate an estate depends on the complexity of the estate, any debts owed, and a few other factors. 

How to Avoid Probate

Most people prefer not to go through probate for some of the reasons listed above. Probate can greatly diminish the value of an estate, put stress on you and your family, and take up a lot of your time. When clients ask us the best way to avoid probate, our answer always revolves around estate planning. A well-drafted will ensures your wishes for your property are followed and your assets are divided how you want. There are several strategies to estate planning, and you can learn more about how to get started by consulting with an estate planning attorney in Missouri at Mark Harford Law. Are you already facing probate for a loved one? We can assist with representing you in probate court, too. Contact us to schedule your consultation with a member of the Mark Harford Law team.