How to Get a Letter of Testamentary Without Probate
Who Requires a Letter of Testamentary?
Basically, a letter of testamentary is a document with the legal authority to name an executor to act on behalf of the testator or deceased person.
The executor’s responsibilities include gathering information about the deceased person’s assets and debts and dividing them amongst beneficiaries according to the will. To responsibly administer your estate, it is crucial to have a clear estate plan in place. A reputable estate planning attorney in Las Vegas can provide information and advice when making tough decisions.
What Are Letters Testamentary?
A letter of testament is a legal document granted by a probate court to an executor providing them permission to perform specific duties. The document specifies what types of assets are owned by the deceased and will be distributed to beneficiaries. It also provides instructions on:
How the estate is to be managed
What taxes are owed
How debts are to be paid
The letter of testament can be used for various purposes, such as settling the estate, selling property, and distributing assets. Legal advisors from the Wood Law Group can help you obtain letters of testamentary and guide you through probate court if necessary.
How Do You Obtain Letters Testamentary?
There are two ways to get a letter of testamentary:
- You can ask your lawyer or an attorney to prepare it for you.
- You can use an online service.
The first option may be more expensive, but it will take less time than using an online service. The second option might be cheaper and faster, but it might not be as accurate or as comprehensive as a letter prepared by a lawyer. When possible, it is usually a better option to retain the services of a reputable attorney.
However, in many cases, a testamentary letter is completed with the help of a personal representative, an attorney, or an estate planning professional who will know what information needs to be included for it to be valid in certain jurisdictions.
The executor should keep copies of all documents related to the deceased’s finances and estate to provide them as necessary when fulfilling their duties.
What Happens If You Don’t Get a Letter of Testamentary?
If you don’t have a letter of testamentary, then the court will appoint a personal administrator or executor for you. This person will be in charge of looking after your estate, which includes managing your assets and paying any debts. This person may not always be the person you want to take care of these things. Therefore, it is recommended contact a lawyer to devise your estate plan soon.
What Does a Letter of Testamentary Look Like?
A letter of testamentary is a document used by a person appointed by the court to manage the estate of someone who has died. This document provides instructions on how to distribute the deceased person’s assets. The executor will also need access to various resources, such as the deceased’s:
- Bank statements
- Health care directives
- Other legal documents
It is vital for an executor to have access to all of the deceased person’s property and documents, so they can be able to make decisions about what needs to be done with them. An asset protection attorney or law firm can provide a template or an example of a letter of testamentary for your use.
How Much Does a Letter of Testamentary Cost?
Contact a skilled attorney from Wood Law Group for more information to learn how much a letter of testamentary will cost you.
Can You Get a Letter of Testamentary Without Probate?
A letter of testamentary does not require probate because it is signed by the deceased and does not include any financial instructions or property distribution instructions. Probate is not always required. There are some exceptions when it is not needed, such as:
- The deceased had a will, and the will states that it does not need probate
- The deceased died with assets worth less than $100,000
- The deceased died without assets or debts of any kind
- The deceased owned property in joint tenancy with someone else who survives them, and the property automatically goes to the surviving joint tenant without probate
The main reason for using a letter of testamentary instead of probate is that it does not have any financial or property distribution instructions, which means there are no formalities for any assets left behind by the deceased.
Who Decides if Probate Is Required?
Generally, the courts decide if probate is required. Probate is the process of proving a will to be valid or invalid. It’s required when the person dies intestate (without a valid will) or when the person has a will, but it can’t be found. The law requires probate for any property that exceeds $150,000 in value, including real estate. The process is not required if there are less than $150,000 worth of assets.
There are two types of probate: informal and formal.
Informal probate is done with a petition to the court and does not require an appointed executor. This type only takes about 30 days to complete.
Formal probate is done through an executor who files letters of testamentary with the court. It can take up to six months to complete, depending on the estate’s complexity.
Why Is a Letter of Testamentary Essential?
A will is often not enough to distribute the estate and its assets. A letter of testamentary can ensure that the deceased’s wishes are followed and that they are not overridden by someone else.
For questions about any estate planning or probate matter, talk to probate lawyers at Wood Law Group.