My spouse passed suddenly last week married since 2006 no kids, currently married he had no WILL. We kept separate bank accounts he had a small business it was easier for spending. I am not listed on checking account and it’s around $55k am I to file Small Estate Affidavit or Informal Probate. I am just trying to have the bank account and no one will be trying to get to it. I just don’t know which is the correct one to do. I am very confused and not wanting to get a lawyer to spend more money when it should be one or the other. It is kind of a shame if you have a marriage certificate and even though not on acct or no WILL it doesn’t default to you automatically in times of grief.
ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU:
By law, an asset only automatically transfers to another individual if the asset is held as a joint owner between the two or the account was set up as a transfer on death account. It is unclear what type of small business he had (LLC, sole proprietorship, S corp.) . At this point, you could be probating his business ownership, not the bank account. The asset limit for a small estate is $25,000 in Massachusetts, so you are over the limit.
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