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What Happens if a Probate Case is Not Filed?

What Happens If No Probate is FiledWhen a person dies leaving a Will, usually the person who is in possession of the decedent’s Will files it with the probate court.  Missouri law requires anyone who is in possession of a deceased person’s last will and testament to deliver that Will to the local Probate Court.  There is also a Missouri law that requires that a Will must be admitted into evidence in the Probate Court within one year from the decedent’s date of death.  Therefore, we recommend anyone holding a Will for a deceased person contact us immediately to go about filing it with the Court.

There are Missouri laws governing who is allowed to become the Personal Representative.  If there is a Will, the person named as Personal Representative does not automatically get appointed, the nominee must still petition the Court to be appointed as Personal Representative.  If there is no Will, then it is uncertain who will be named as Personal Representative (also called an “Executor”), Missouri law only allows certain persons to serve.  

What does probate mean?

Probate is what is required when a person dies owning an asset that is “stuck” only in the name of the deceased, after they have already died, and there is no beneficiary named on that asset.  Probate is public, can take a long time, and can be expensive.  

During the probate case, there will be many items that will need to be done by the probate Court and the Personal Representative, such as:

  • Verifying that the will is valid.
  • Running publication in the paper.
  • Locating, marshalling, and liquidating assets.
  • Settling all debts that the person still had.
  • Providing an accounting to the Court and all heirs.
  • Then distributing the assets that are left — both money and property — to the beneficiaries who are named in the Will; or if no Will exists, to the heirs under Missouri law.
  • Many other items during the case.

After that, the estate can be closed.

Probate often takes quite a bit of time, money, and attention. The process includes numerous forms, notice requirements, and filing rules. Not surprisingly, there can be delays when the probate court’s procedures aren’t followed meticulously. Helpfully, there is a streamlined form of probate for “small estates” in Missouri (Estates worth $40,000 or less). In these cases, a small estate affidavit can be filed with the court without opening a full probate estate in probate Court. Our affordable probate attorneys can help with small probate estates.

What if a Will is not Filed with the Probate Court?

Under Missouri’s Trust and Estate Law and Probate Code, no one is forced to be the executor, one must voluntarily agree to serve. That said, the original, signed Last Will and Testament will need to be filed with the probate court in the county where the deceased lived. For example, in Springfield, MO, or Republic, Mo, this would be the Greene County Probate Court.

A full probate administration must generally be opened within one year from the decedent’s date of death. Also, a Will must be filed within one year from the decedent’s date of death.  

If the Will is not filed with the Probate Court within the required one year period, the Will becomes invalid – it is no longer any good.  The Will essentially “expires”.

What Happens if No Probate Case is Opened?

If there are assets or property “stuck” titled into the name of the decedent , and there was no co-owner, and there was no assigned beneficiary on such assets, the items will continue being owned by a dead person, and nothing can legally be done with them until this problem is corrected (by probate Court).  This can cause many problems, such as:

  • Real Estate Problems. Many problems can arise if real estate does not go through probate:
    • if real estate remains stuck in the name of a dead person, and there is a mortgage on the property, the mortgage company could foreclose.  
    • If no one pays the real estate taxes, the county may foreclose after three years.  
    • Real estate can fall into disrepair, be broken into or vandalized, or even fall subject to “squatters” illegally residing on the property.
    • The property cannot be sold until a living person legally owns it by putting into probate, and it is not advisable to sink money into a property that you do not legally own that has not been probated.
  • Title Problems. If a home, car, or financial account continues to be “stuck” in the name of a dead person, it will generally be frozen and simply just sit there until someone puts the item through probate.  
  • Creditor Problems.  If no one opens an estate, a creditor may be able to force open an estate. 
  • Account and Policy Problems.  Insurance Policies and financial accounts can become hard to locate as companies merge with other companies, or go out of business, and so on.
  • Unclaimed Funds Division.  If property sits “stuck” in the name of a dead person long enough, it may be remitted to the “unclaimed funds” division of the State of Missouri.  If you someday want to get the assets back from the State, you will have to open a probate at that time, which may likely be more complicated due to the passage of time.

How can a probate attorney help?

Probate can be a daunting process. Questions surrounding a Will become especially difficult in times of grief, stress, and confusion. An experienced probate attorney can help immensely when family dynamics or property considerations are complicated. Wills can be contested, and a probate attorney can represent the Personal Representative, heir(s), or other parties to ensure fair treatment. A probate attorney can also help individuals, couples and families plan ahead for the probate process. Professional advice can mean substantial money savings and smoother property transfers.

Learn how an our probate attorney can guide you through the process. Joseph Piatchek is an experienced and caring probate attorney in Springfield ,Missouri who brings broad experience in probate estates of all sizes, small estates to large estates, with an emphasis on exceptional service, and a special ability to explain complicated matters in simple, clear terms.  Contact us by phone, email, or through our website if you would like to set up your initial consultation. 

 

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  • Avatar für John Clinton

    John Clinton

    May 13, 2022 - 1:52 am

    My father passed await back Feb 2022 he had no will. He had an vehicle without Beneficiary and tried to get the tags or license plates the DMV said I have to do probate to get the vehicle awarded to me to get the vehicle register to me. Now my question is how much is it going to cost me too do all of this cause I’m on an fix income. I live in St. Louis, MO & how much do y’all charge for this service.

    • Avatar für Joe Piatchek

      Joe Piatchek

      May 28, 2022 - 10:18 am

      Need to know more before giving a quote. Please feel free to call me – Joe at 417-882-5858, Ext. #3030. Happy to discuss with you. Thanks, Joe

  • Avatar für Teresa clark

    Teresa clark

    May 13, 2022 - 10:38 am

    My daughter’s grandmother passed away July 14,2020. We just found out this year that she is gone. I call the probate office where she lived and there is no record of her will. I asked my ex husband about the will and he got mad.

    • Avatar für Joe Piatchek

      Joe Piatchek

      May 28, 2022 - 10:19 am

      Please feel free to call me – Joe at 417-882-5858, Ext. #3030. Happy to discuss with you. Thanks, Joe

  • Avatar für Leigh Ann Attardo

    Leigh Ann Attardo

    May 17, 2022 - 6:40 pm

    Good day. My name is Leigh Ann Attardo and I live in CT. My grandfather passed away in 2014 and his executor (my cousin) has not fulfilled the will and is has multiple tines tried to sell the property to his sister and she continues to be denied the house loan. They are trying again but, this time, I feel as though they are trying to cut me out of the inheritance. The will was, unbeknownst to me, never filed with probate. As I have been researching, I came across MO law stating that the will is basically expired now. I have no clue what my recourse could be now. My grandfather’s property is located in Springfield. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Leigh Ann Attardo

    • Avatar für Joe Piatchek

      Joe Piatchek

      May 28, 2022 - 10:19 am

      Please feel free to call me – Joe at 417-882-5858, Ext. #3030. Happy to discuss with you. Thanks, Joe

  • Avatar für Elizabeth J Black (McDowell state does zero I got zero and this is too wrong

    Elizabeth J Black (McDowell state does zero I got zero and this is too wrong

    May 26, 2022 - 7:42 pm

    My brother preacher had him against me and was in the death room family was already planning to steal my inheritance my younger sisters had dad isolated from me and others. They paid my brother a large sum to stop probate. The two had demanded his 2 inheritance accounts and were controlling him with they would not let him give me money and he’d gotten a large estate liquid to him as sole heir. My brother preacher got money had my brother steal from me they all have been ghosting me since. Problem is dad didn’t tell girls a very large amount came in the last 3rd check over 2to 4 million and that preacher used judgement to get brother to steal from me and he’s still trucking him into letting him hide money laundering and he kept my money my sister’s didn’t know. I’m oldest heir cut out 2016the preacher is stealing in the name of God and me and my kids got zero small town prosecutor was brothers probate was paid large funds to stop probate. He will not stop this their and attorney general’s office Eric cleared Mr Stevenson. And brother lied dad made more in a year than what he put down that preacher is still stealing our money prosecutor let brother stop probate and since all parties lied hate and don’t give me what dad wanted me and my kids. Dad trusted wrong person thought state had laws that probate had to be done while preacher keeps stealing my money I’ve gotten zero because of the other people thinking they didn’t get but damn preacher is stealing lied to help 9n sister steal claim to my retirement and she’s drawing. No one will stop preacher my sister’s did not know that dad got last biggest check trusted my brother and reacher cohersed him to not give me anything now he’s still taking our money and attorney general won’t help nor will pay off lawyer. I had my memories gone 4 years last year spent most of time with run around from Nestle retirement to get to right person for them to say they knew who let her claim changed name said tell her to get a lawyer. This is B’s. That Eric talked with Mr payoff to put on Casenet closed attorney general now says he can’t do anything get a lawyer. What can I do I’ve been bullied o take memories keep broke to no probate and memories had someone in my family wantme dead guess no laws in Andrew or Buchanan and I get hate thrown my way from outsider preacher whose hiding money for brother and stealing I’m disabled SSI need to move and this 0reacher has been brainwashing my brother too hate steal and lie mo will not help me he’s a veteran and retired my broth and was in desert storm irac I feel he’s being tricked and prosecuted will not helpinlising my patience and ready to do something wronghe used hate to turn my brother farther from me after greedy sisters got most and I got cut out of all my dad would be livid and did not like preacher nland he turned my brother from probating worth me

  • Avatar für Elizabeth J Black (McDowell statero I t zero and this is too wrong

    Elizabeth J Black (McDowell statero I t zero and this is too wrong

    May 26, 2022 - 7:43 pm

    My brother preacher had him against me and was in the death room family was already planning to steal my inheritance my younger sisters had dad isolated from me and others. They paid my brother a large sum to stop probate. The two had demanded his 2 inheritance accounts and were controlling him with they would not let him give me money and he’d gotten a large estate liquid to him as sole heir. My brother preacher got money had my brother steal from me they all have been ghosting me since. Problem is dad didn’t tell girls a very large amount came in the last 3rd check over 2to 4 million and that preacher used judgement to get brother to steal from me and he’s still trucking him into letting him hide money laundering and he kept my money my sister’s didn’t know. I’m oldest heir cut out 2016the preacher is stealing in the name of God and me and my kids got zero small town prosecutor was brothers probate was paid large funds to stop probate. He will not stop this their and attorney general’s office Eric cleared Mr Stevenson. And brother lied dad made more in a year than what he put down that preacher is still stealing our money prosecutor let brother stop probate and since all parties lied hate and don’t give me what dad wanted me and my kids. Dad trusted wrong person thought state had laws that probate had to be done while preacher keeps stealing my money I’ve gotten zero because of the other people thinking they didn’t get but damn preacher is stealing lied to help 9n sister steal claim to my retirement and she’s drawing. No one will stop preacher my sister’s did not know that dad got last biggest check trusted my brother and reacher cohersed him to not give me anything now he’s still taking our money and attorney general won’t help nor will pay off lawyer. I had my memories gone 4 years last year spent most of time with run around from Nestle retirement to get to right person for them to say they knew who let her claim changed name said tell her to get a lawyer. This is B’s. That Eric talked with Mr payoff to put on Casenet closed attorney general now says he can’t do anything get a lawyer. What can I do I’ve been bullied o take memories keep broke to no probate and memories had someone in my family wantme dead guess no laws in Andrew or Buchanan and I get hate thrown my way from outsider preacher whose hiding money for brother and stealing I’m disabled SSI need to move and this 0reacher has been brainwashing my brother too hate steal and lie mo will not help me he’s a veteran and retired my broth and was in desert storm irac I feel he’s being tricked and prosecuted will not helpinlising my patience and ready to do something wronghe used hate to turn my brother farther from me after greedy sisters got most and I got cut out of all my dad would be livid and did not like preacher nland he turned my brother from probating worth me

  • Avatar für Kathy Meade

    Kathy Meade

    June 21, 2022 - 6:28 pm

    I am buying a 30 acre farm on a 30 year land contract. The couple Im buying it from have passed away. Now theres a clause that states the heirs will continue contract until paid. Now the heirs want me to refinance my farm but I have paid it for 18 years and paid extra and it will be paid off in 3 years. I told the heirs they will have to go through MO Probate court to complete a bank refinance for me to pay off. They said NO Probate but its MO state law so do I pay them off or am I wasting my time looking for bank loan to pay them off? My bank said no they cant loan me on it. Should I look at another bank or get a lawyer? HELP PLEASE!

  • Avatar für Mason Crow

    Mason Crow

    June 22, 2022 - 3:03 pm

    My best friend died last August. I know for a fact that I’m a substancisl beneficiary in his Will. The executor is his uncle. He’s been Very suspicious and has basically refused to show me the Will. However he’s tried to pay me thousands of dollars on 2 occasions to buy my silence?? He of course hasn’t filed the Will yet. I think he’s waiting to file it right B4 The required Year to file so the day after a full year of my best friends death the Will is legally invalid!!! Can you help?

  • Avatar für Brenda Dobynes

    Brenda Dobynes

    October 6, 2022 - 3:50 pm

    We have questions regarding our older brother who passed Oct 2021. Brither had a small home in St. Louis nothing of great value but can be brought up to code to sell. Brother also had small winnings from Missouri Lotto in his bank account No Wll! No Beneficiary! One older adult son, who has one minor daughter! We are four siblings! We cared for brother! Do we have any rights under the Missouri Probate Law as siblings. Should we move forward with filing a Petition the current Probate and or/ petition to assets!

    • Avatar für Joe Piatchek

      Joe Piatchek

      October 6, 2022 - 5:13 pm

      Brenda: Call our office at 417-882-5858, my extension is 3030, I would be happy to speak with you. I will also email you. Thanks, Joe

  • Avatar für Sylvalene

    Sylvalene

    November 10, 2022 - 9:04 pm

    I have a question my mother-in-law has a will my sister in law is head over it but the older son can live in the house till he can’t take care of it .but she not by buy the will she try to get ride on every what can he cand do and his other brother.

  • Avatar für Maria

    Maria

    November 28, 2022 - 4:02 pm

    My ex husband passed away in march 2022. His name and mine are on the deed to a house and 4 acres in mo. My ex has been in assisted living since 2002 shortly after our divorce. My son has been living on the property his whole life and has 4 kids now. My oldest son passed away in 2006 and has a daughter. I have been paying home insurance and taxes since 2002. In our divorce decree we were to sign a quick claim deed over to my ex husband but we decided not to go through with doing that in case something should happen to my ex regarding his failing health. He wanted the house to stay in our names and go to me and my boys if something happened to him. We had been married for 21 years. I have not remarried. He had no will. I’m not sure what to do about probate court. Will the house still stay in my name or will it go to my ex’s surviving son and my other sons granddaughter? Should I try and become responible party in probate? We are wanting to get this settted. Since i have so much invested in the home, I’d like to keep it under my name. Is that possible?

  • Avatar für Merijo Carnell

    Merijo Carnell

    January 4, 2023 - 6:19 pm

    I purchased a timeshare from an individual in 2012, in the state of Illinois . She passed away in 2015. There was no probate done because there was a quit claim deed done from her estate to me in 2015. Probate was done in the state of Illinois but not Missouri and the property I purchased was a timeshare in Branson Missouri. I am trying to give the timeshare back to the company and they are insisting we have to file probate before they will clear the title. From what I understand the title is in both the deceased and her deceased husband’s name and my name. Is there a way around this or do we need to file probate?

    • Avatar für Debbie

      Debbie

      March 23, 2023 - 7:00 pm

      Hi my dad died in 2020. My mother will not let us see his will. And it’s not been to probate. She said she doesn’t have to let us read the will and she doesn’t have to probate it because everything was left to her. We’re in Missouri!! Don’t know whether to pursue this or just drop it..

      • Avatar für Joe Piatchek

        Joe Piatchek

        March 27, 2023 - 1:44 pm

        You are welcome to call me at 471-882-5858, Extension #3030, happy to talk to you for a bit! Joe

  • Avatar für Jason Walker

    Jason Walker

    January 11, 2023 - 9:19 pm

    My father died September 3rd 2018 from Cancer that came back. My step Mother was left everything in the will but she never turned it in to the court’s, and has been using the will that isn’t any good anymore in her favor saying that it’s all hers and to make this short I’ll say this she’s sold anything and everything that was worth any kind of money and now the only thing left is a property that was never put in her name! But don’t think there’s anything left in that property because she did the same thing and sold everything that was worth a decent amount of money off that property that she doesn’t even own?????

    • Avatar für Joe Piatchek

      Joe Piatchek

      March 27, 2023 - 1:45 pm

      You are welcome to call me at 471-882-5858, Extension #3030, happy to talk to you for a bit! Joe

    • Avatar für Joe Piatchek

      Joe Piatchek

      March 27, 2023 - 1:46 pm

      You are welcome to call me at 471-882-5858, Extension #3030, happy to talk. Thanks, Joe

  • Avatar für Debbie

    Debbie

    March 23, 2023 - 6:59 pm

    Hi my dad died in 2020. My mother will not let us see his will. And it’s not been to probate. She said she doesn’t have to let us read the will and she doesn’t have to probate it because everything was left to her. We’re in Missouri!! Don’t know whether to pursue this or just drop it..

  • Avatar für Lisa

    Lisa

    July 28, 2023 - 9:36 pm

    “If the Will is not filed with the Probate Court within the required one year period, the Will becomes invalid – it is no longer any good. The Will essentially “expires”.

    What does the court do if the spouse’s in-laws hid the will from the widow so she was unable to filed it with the court?
    Lacking a will at the time if widow filed “Spousal Refusal of Letters” and later discovered an original signed copy of the will some years later – can the court Amend or modify the refusal of letters to begin to probate the will and name widow Executor of the Estate?

    • Avatar für Joe Piatchek

      Joe Piatchek

      August 2, 2023 - 4:32 pm

      Lisa, that is a very interesting set of questions. I have never seen these fact patterns in real life, and I don’t know. I would need to conduct some reading and research to even begin to try to answer. If there was some really solid proof, I would imagine there would be a way to get this in front of a judge, but I honestly don’t know. Very interesting. In your scenario, the Will was being hid FROM the Widow, which to me would mean that the Widow was named as beneficiary in the Will. If that same Widow filed a “spousal refusal of letters” when they were not aware of the Will, I would also imagine that refusal process would benefit the widow as well. So if the Will benefitted the Widow, and not admitting the Will also benefitted the Widow, and both procedures would reach the same result, I would then question what the difference was – if the Widow inherited said property either way. Perhaps there are other facts that would not make it work quite this way, who knows. You are welcome to call me to discuss. Thanks, Joe

  • Avatar für Lenzie Allen

    Lenzie Allen

    October 26, 2023 - 5:20 am

    My deceased mother’s home was foreclosed on and sold. How do I claim the surplus funds?

    • Avatar für Joe Piatchek

      Joe Piatchek

      May 22, 2024 - 1:06 pm

      Lenzie, You would likely need to contact the foreclosing bank. Let us know if you would like any assistance with that. Thanks, Joe

    • Avatar für Joe Piatchek

      Joe Piatchek

      May 22, 2024 - 1:11 pm

      Lenzie, please call our office at 882-5858 if you still want to discuss. Thanks, Joe

  • Avatar für Kathryn prince

    Kathryn prince

    December 8, 2023 - 3:03 am

    I have five older siblings three brothers and one sister our father passed away three yrs ago with no well from what they are telling me and I’m cut out
    of everything including 111 acres , 80 acres, in koshkonong mo and 2 houses 3.1 acres in wappapello mo from me intercepting the mail I found out the land in wappapello mo has sold from tax sell or going to soon as with the koshkonong mo property is there a way to get my part of this never took to probate

    • Avatar für Joe Piatchek

      Joe Piatchek

      May 30, 2024 - 2:24 pm

      Kathryn, thank you for your comment on our website. For something like this we would need some more information in order to assist you further. If you give us a call at (417)882-5858 we would be glad to speak to you.

  • Avatar für Lori Rouch

    Lori Rouch

    December 30, 2023 - 11:07 am

    My dad recently passed away, my step mother refuses to say if he had a Will. I’m sure he did because that’s how he was. How do I find out for sure and what his will says?

    • Avatar für Joe Piatchek

      Joe Piatchek

      May 30, 2024 - 2:20 pm

      Hello Lori, We would love to be able to assist you with this legal matter. We would need a bit more information from you in order to determine what can be done with your specific situation. Please call our office at (417)882-5858. We look forward to speaking with you.

  • Avatar für Dorothea Brandemour

    Dorothea Brandemour

    January 31, 2024 - 12:21 pm

    My mother died in 2015 and had a Will (I am the sole heir). There were no assets and so I never filed the will with the court. I, now, need my father’s and mother’s income taxes from the IRS with court documents. Please let me know how to proceed. Thank you in advance

    • Avatar für Joe Piatchek

      Joe Piatchek

      May 30, 2024 - 2:30 pm

      Dorothea,
      Thank you for your comment. We would love to discuss this with you but would need more information. If you would give our office a call at (417)-882-5858 we would be more than happy to speak to you.

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