Handling a family member’s death is always an overwhelming process, especially so when his or her assets go through probate. Probate is the process of handling assets after a person has died. A will must be executed or, if there is no will, must be distributed by an administrator. In Missouri, someone’s assets can go through probate even with a will. While the process can be complicated, having an attorney represent you is necessary to go through probate court. Below, we’ll explain a simplified version of which types of assets go through probate in Missouri and what the process might look like. 

probate process

The Different Types of Assets

The State of Missouri requires legal representation to handle probate administration when the decedent’s assets total over $40,000. It’s necessary to hire an attorney who understands the complexities of Missouri’s probate process to handle the various assets of the decedent. There are several types of assets subject to probate:

  • Personal Property – Without a will, a decedent’s personal property is subject to probate. That only includes property solely owned by the decedent and can include items like automobiles, jewelry, and furniture. Personal property of any dollar amount is subject to probate and is necessary if there are disagreements about claims to personal property.
  • Bank Accounts – Solely-owned bank accounts are subject to probate in Missouri. As long as the account has no co-owner or named beneficiary, the entirety of the account must go through probate. 
  • Investment Accounts – Like bank accounts, an investment account owned only by the decedent will go through the probate process. Stocks, bonds, and other investments will determine transfership of the accounts through probate court. 
  • Real Estate – Missouri real estate property owned solely by the decedent or co-owned without a right of survivorship are required to go through probate. That can include houses, office buildings, lots, apartments, and all other types of real estate property. 

There are a few circumstances that don’t require probate to handle a decedent’s assets. That can include jointly held property, assets that are transferable on death, those which are payable on death, and trust assets with a living beneficiary listed may be left out of the probate process. If there is a will, the probate process is much simpler, even if some assets go through probate. 

When Does Probate Begin?

Starting the probate process has a deadline. In Missouri, probate must begin within one year of the decedent’s death. It’s understandable that many friends and family members are unable or not ready to start the process immediately after the decedent’s passing, but it’s not something that can be put off for long. 

Mark Harford Law is Here to Help

There are some circumstances that call for a simplified probate process. The most common is if the total assets of the estate are under $40,000. This process is often less expensive and takes significantly less time. Although an attorney isn’t legally required, it never hurts to have legal representation, even for a simplified probate.

Do you want to avoid probate after your death? Do you need assistance with the probate process after the death of a family member? Mark Harford Law can help with estate planning, probate administration, trust litigation, and more. We understand the complex process of the probate process and can advocate for you to enforce your legal rights. Schedule a consultation with Mark Harford Law today to learn more about what we can do for you and your family.