In February 2011 my mother suffered an accident and passed September 2011. Her estate is far from significant, approximately $700.00 for a return check from the nursing home. Her will cites 5 pieces of jewelry that she has sold or given away prior to her passing. How do I account for these when I take the will to probate court?
Not every Will needs to be probated. If all the assets pass outside
the estate, called "non-probate assets", and there is nothing left, you
do not need to probate the Will. For example, the jewelry is gone,
your mother had $700.00 and nothing else. If the $700.00 is in an
account that leaves it to you or someone else at her death, then you
do not need to probate the Will. Even if you need some form of
estate established to obtain the $700.00, there are methods to file
petitions with the court that do not require a full-on probate process.
However, I would safeguard the Will, in case any person who may
have a right in your mother's estate requires it to be produced. If
someone should so require, I would deposit the original Will with the
probate court, but not enter it into probate. You can leave that for
someone else since so little in the way of assets are involved.