Probate is a court supervised process wherein your will is verified, your personal representative (P.R.) is sworn in, potential creditors are notified of your death, taxes are filed and paid, last bills are paid, beneficiaries are identified, and assets are distributed to your beneficiaries as instructed in your will.
North Dakota Probate Exemption
If you die or own property in North Dakota, you can avoid probate with an affidavit procedure if you own personal property worth $50,000 or less. Personal property refers to cash accounts, investment accounts, and your belongings, not real estate.
There is no specified dollar amount in the relevant probate statute for a simplified probate.
Choose Your Personal Representative Carefully
Probate is a labor intensive and paper pushing tedious process. While your probate attorney – estate planning attorney will help your Personal Representative (P.R.) tremendously and do much of the work, you need to choose your P.R. carefully.
Choose a P.R. who cares about you, is detail oriented, good with finances, knows when to ask for help, and can communicate effectively with professionals as well as beneficiaries.
Be sure to name a successor P.R. in case your primary P.R. is unwilling or unable to serve.
Should I avoid probate?
Many folks seek to avoid probate because it is tedious, time consuming, lengthy, expensive, and public. Probate is public in that the will, asset information, beneficiary contact information, and debts are all filed at the court house when you die. Everyone has access to the information.
How can I avoid probate?
Your assets will avoid probate if you own no real estate and the total value of your personal property is $50,000 or less.
Revocable living trust assets avoid probate with no pitfalls.
The other means of probate avoidance in North Dakota all have pitfalls: joint ownership, Transfer on Death Deeds, beneficiary designations, payment on death/transfer on death accounts, and accounts held in trust for a beneficiary.