Is the appointment of an executor or administrator and formal administrator and formal administration of an estate always required?

Qualification of an executor or administrator is not always necessary. This is true when the estate is less than $50,000 and a small estate affidavit is accepted by the financial institution to take control of the asset. If the small estate affidavit is not accepted, qualification is usually needed.

A small estate is considered to be $50,000 without a qualification and $15,000 with a qualification.

NOTE: Small estate affidavit forms are available in the Clerk’s Office or at the Financial Institution. 

Additionally, qualification is not necessary to transfer a motor vehicle title. In these circumstances, the will is probated (proved and recorded in the Will Books of the Circuit Court) and nothing further is required. Other instances where formal qualification or administration may not be required are joint accounts with right of survivorship in banks, saving institutions, or credit unions.

In most cases, the payment of life insurance proceeds to a named beneficiary and the transfer of real estate to a surviving spouse or other person, where there were survivorship rights in the deed, occur outside the estate.


Show All Answers

1. What is probate?
2. Where should the will be probated?
3. What does dying "testate" or "intestate" mean?
4. Who inherits the property of an intestate (person dying without a will)?
5. Is the appointment of an executor or administrator and formal administrator and formal administration of an estate always required?
6. When should I probate the will or if there is no will seek to be appointed administrator?
7. What should I take with me to probate a will or qualify on an estate?
8. Who will be appointed by the court as executor or administrator?
9. What are the basic duties of an executor or administrator?
10. What taxes are there to be paid?
11. Is an executor or administrator compensated?
12. Where can I go for more information or answers to specific questions?