Whether or not probate of an estate is required depends upon the type of assets in the estate and the value of those assets.
Generally, financial institutions and registry offices will require probate to confirm that the estate trustee is authorized to receive the assets and funds that belonged to the deceased person.
Probate will likely be required where the estate includes:
- real property owned by the deceased in his or her name alone or as a tenant in common
- shares of a publicly-owned company
- funds held at a financial institution (depending on the value)
It may be possible to avoid probate (and probate fees) in some circumstances. For example, where the deceased person had multiple wills, and one of the wills dealt exclusively with shared held in a private corporation, probate may not be necessary to transfer those shares.