We have been told that wills/trusts are a great way to make sure your estate is managed and disbursed according to your wishes. I recently had a client where had this advice been followed it could have saved her thousands of dollars and spared her a lot of frustration.
If you or your partner pass without a will or trust the process of probate can be time consuming as well as costly. In some cases probate without a will can take up to 6 months and can cost in excess of $4000.00. Will and trusts can be formed anywhere from $100-$1800 depending on that type of estate you have.
When it comes to real estate and the selling of your property the process of probate cannot be avoided. Property purchased jointly will have both (or more depending on the situation) on the title. In order to sell the property both parties must be present and able to sign the title over to a new owner. If you or your partner(s) has passed and they are unable to do so you will be unable to sell the property. Once the estate has gone through probate assuming there is not a contested will or other hiccups the title will be clear so sell to a new owner.
Just because you are married and you are both listed on the title of your shared property does not mean probate will not be needed. Idaho law permits a married person to leave his or her property to a child, a friend, or a charity, the law requires that a probate occur to determine who is really entitled to inherit the decedent’s property even when there is a surviving spouse. If a trust or will was put into place this would instruct how the decedent wanted his/her property to be distributed.
If your title states right of survivorship this may allow you to sell the property without going through the probate process. This can vary by county.
As with all things regarding legal matters I recommend consulting with an attorney and getting solid legal advice prior to making any decision.