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Is Probate Required in Rhode Island?

Gene Kirzhner Sept. 21, 2021

When a loved one dies, their surviving family members are left with the responsibility of the estate while dealing with their grief. This can be a stressful and exhausting time for everyone involved, so it is essential to understand every facet of the processes relating to the estate. Probate is the court’s legal method of dealing with the estate. Because probate varies throughout the states, it is crucial to understand how it works in Rhode Island.

In Rhode Island, there are a few exceptions in which probate may not be necessary. However, most estates will be required to go through probate with at least a few of their loved one’s assets. Although it may be difficult to avoid the probate process in Rhode Island, you might be able to avoid it with a small estate probate. An estate probate is considered small if it has a value of less than $15,000 in personal property.

In addition, a will must be filed through the court following a person’s death and does not rely on whether the estate goes through probate. The filing is used to ensure that the will is valid and that the deceased person’s wishes are being honored. However, a petition for probate is usually filed at the same time as the will is presented.

According to Rhode Island law, the person in possession of the will must file it with the court within 30 days of learning of the person’s death. If they do not file within 30 days, they may be in contempt of court and can even face jail time until the will is presented.

In Rhode Island, there are probate courts in every town and city with appointed judges. You can find Rhode Island’s probate laws in the State of Rhode Island General Laws under Title 33.

In short, probate is required for most estates in Rhode Island. Although there are exceptions and ways to avoid the highly complex process, you should be prepared to go through the court to deal with your loved one’s estate at some point. Depending on various factors, the time it takes for a probate to be processed will vary. However, it is important to know that it must remain open for at least six months because it is the same amount of time given to creditors to submit claims.

To learn more about probate laws in Rhode Island, contact The Law Offices of Howe and Garside. Our experienced and qualified attorneys can help keep you informed and, most importantly, help you achieve the best possible outcome. We look forward to hearing from you!