The word “probate” derives from the Latin word for “proven” or “proved.” To be effective, the law requires that a decedent’s Last Will be “proven” as valid. In Idaho, the court has jurisdiction to probate a Will within three years of the decedent’s death. But, unlike what you may have heard — or even experienced in other states — probate in Idaho is typically quick and inexpensive.
In most cases, there is no contest as to the validity of the Will. The reason people enter probate is to give someone — the "personal representative" – authority to administer the decedent’s estate and transfer property. Fortunately, Idaho has an “informal probate” process where the person named in the Last Will as personal representative can obtain authority without even a court hearing. If the decedent died without a Will – intestate – informal probate is still available. The priority for appointment as personal representative is set out in law, starting with a surviving spouse and then children of the decedent.
Idaho probate is available if decedent died out of state.
It’s not unusual for an Idaho real property owner to die while living in another state. The surviving spouse or other beneficiaries then need to obtain authority to transfer the real property. An informal probate or summary administration can be accomplished without the personal representative ever coming to Idaho. The staff at Berg, McLaughlin & Nelson are quite skilled at managing the paper flow by email, fax and overnight delivery. The lawyers can also assist in selling the property if that is the purpose of the probate.
Will contests and family feuds
Occasionally the beneficiaries of an estate will challenge the validity of the Will or are in dispute over the administration of the estate. In that event, the litigation team at Berg, McLaughlin & Nelson is ready to represent our client, who may be the personal representative or a beneficiary. Fortunately, Idaho has a trust and estates dispute resolution act (“TEDRA”) that allows the litigants to come to an agreement without court involvement. That’s a first step, but if the probate team cannot resolve the dispute through a TEDRA, then the litigation team takes over to vigorously stand up for our client’s rights.