What Does Probate Mean? When a family member dies, what happens to the estate; the bank and savings accounts, the stock and bond accounts, the real estate, insurance, trusts, annuities, business interests, and other assets? It all depends on probate.
Nolo Law for All says “Probate is a legal process that takes place after someone dies. It includes:
If deceased did not have a Will, then the property will be distributed according to Missouri law regarding intestacy (dying without a Will).
Not all estates must go through probate. If an estate falls below a certain threshold, it is considered a “small estate” and doesn’t require court supervision to be settled. Click here to find out Missouri’s small estate threshold and procedure.
Not all assets are subject to probate. Some kinds of assets transfer automatically at the death of an owner with no probate required. The most common kinds of assets that pass without probate are:
If a decedent has created a Living Trust to hold his or her’s largest assets, then that estate, too, won’t go through probate, unless the assets left outside of the trust add up to more than Missouri’s small estate limit.
Since 2005, Missouri doesn’t have a separate state estate tax. The estate must file and pay all necessary state and federal taxes including the final income tax return of the deceased and any real estate or personal property taxes owed by the deceased.
An inheritance tax is imposed after the transfer of assets. Therefore, with the imposition of an inheritance tax, the beneficiary pays the tax, not the estate. The good news is that the State of Missouri does not collect inheritance taxes.
Disclosure: Estate taxes, wills, and probate are areas that need the expertise of a lawyer who specializes in these areas. Always seek professional advice.
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