What Happens If an Estate Is Not Probated?

The estate’s executor is responsible for filing a person’s will and opening a probate case after they die. This person has a fiduciary duty to the estate’s beneficiaries, or an obligation to act in their best interests. If a will is not probated because the executor neglects to perform their duties, the estate and its heirs can endure considerable losses.

What happens if a will is not filed? Many consequences of not probating a will may occur if your executor avoids the process.

Legal Assets Will Not Transfer

If the executor fails to probate a will, all the decedent’s assets remain in their name indefinitely. That means the deceased individual’s assets, such as their house, car or personal property, cannot transfer over to the appropriate parties without court approval. Without the probate process, heirs will not have access to the decedent’s signature or consent, and they cannot lawfully collect their inheritances.

The Estate Will Incur Ongoing Expenses

Another repercussion if the executor does not probate the will is that it becomes legally impossible to pay any of the decedent’s bills and debts. As a result, the estate will likely suffer ongoing expenses, such as property taxes, car registrations and insurance premiums. These bills will continue to go unpaid unless someone chooses to fund them personally.

If the will goes through probate as intended, money from the estate would likely cover these expenses.