Hello, I’m Jonathan Barlow, a probate attorney here at Clear Counsel Law Group. We have a question today about a second probate.
Is there a time when a probate has to be reopened and a second probate occur for the same estate of a deceased person?
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Let’s assume that you’ve called and asked me a question about this where you’ve taken care of mom’s estate, or at least you thought you’d taken care of mom’s estate, you’ve already gone through probate, and all of the sudden you have another asset that pops up that you didn’t know about.
This is what the question is about. Is there a second probate? Do I have to do probate a second time?
A Common Example of a Second Probate
Often this can occur when you’re cleaning out mom’s garage, you come across some old stock certificates from this Apple Inc. from 1981 that you never knew about, or in cleaning out the old boxes in the garage, you find this dusty old deed for five acres out in the middle of nowhere in Nevada and you investigate that a little bit and go to the county seat and determine, “Wow, mom actually still owns five acres out here in the middle of nowhere.”
You’ve discovered some other asset that is in mom’s name, and that asset, in order for it to be transferred, has to go through probate, just like all of the other assets in mom’s estate, but the problem is you thought you’d already taken care of probate.
You already got a final order from the judge.
The judge said, “Go ahead and distribute everything out. We think we’re done and closed,” and the estate’s closed. This situation has come up.
You’ve got two things you need to worry about or two things that have to happen.
Copyright: ginasanders / 123RF Stock Photo
Now What Do You Do?
First, you’re going to have to reopen the estate. You’re going to have to go through a process to get the estate opened again.
The second thing you have to worry about is that discovering that asset may push you into a different level of probate than you followed previously.
Let’s talk about those two things.
First, reopening the estate. In order to take care of that asset, somebody has to be appointed and court authorized to handle and administer that asset.
That’s that appointment of an executor or a personal representative that’s done only by the probate court.
You have to file a petition, a request with the probate court that handled the case originally, inform the court that you’ve discovered an additional asset and that you need somebody to be appointed by the court as executor or administrator, the personal representative of the estate, to be able to handle and administer that asset.
It may entail selling the asset, it may entail just dividing it up and distributing it amongst the heirs, as the case may be, but we need somebody with court authority to do that. Again, that can only be done by reopening the probate case.
Thanks for watching. See you next time.