Probate for Widows?
The answer is the same for surviving spouses as it is for other heirs: If the spouse who passed owned any interest in real estate or had possessions and accounts with a value in excess of $100,000, then the surviving spouse must go through probate.
As we’ve discussed in other blog entries, while there are piecemeal schemes that could potentially avoid probate for the surviving spouse, the failure to take specific steps with every asset holds the risk of probate being required despite such efforts. And the piecemeal approach only avoid probate when the first spouse passes, not when the surviving spouse dies.
The universal plan, on the other hand, is the couple’s establishment of a Family Trust. Setting up a trust has the double advantage of avoiding probate as each spouse passes away, not just the first spouse to die.