Does a Surviving Spouse Have to go Through Probate?
It is perhaps the most common question we are asked about probate. Does a surviving spouse have to go through probate?
The answer is that, yes, a surviving spouse must go through probate. There is no exemption from probate, even when the surviving spouse is entitled to inherit everything.
So, unless steps were taken while both spouses were alive, plan on the surviving spouse going through probate.
For those who want to shield the surviving spouse from this requirement, a Family Trust is the best defense. With a Living Trust or Family Trust, not only will the surviving spouse avoid probate, but probate will also be avoided when that spouse later passes away.