after a death, that is the Question
And, the answer is, “It depends on the assets”. Probate is not necessary as long as all of the assets of the Deceased are jointly titled/owned by another living person, or the Deceased designated another living person as beneficiary on each asset. In other words, the only way to answer the question of whether “To Probate or Not To Probate” is to follow the money.
Usually, when the first Spouse in a marriage dies the Surviving Spouse does not have to probate the Deceased Spouse’s estate. Why? Because, usually in a marriage, all of the assets are owned jointly by both spouses. When the Deceased Spouse passes, the jointly owned property becomes the sole property of the Surviving Spouse, and the Surviving Spouse is responsible for paying the Deceased Spouse’s debts.
In cases where there are assets titled in the name of the deceased spouse only, then Probate will be required in order to transfer ownership to the designated beneficiary, if any, otherwise to the Surviving Spouse and the children of the Deceased Spouse.