In some situations, it is necessary to file a will for probate, but there may not always be a need to have a full estate administration. When people think of probate, they usually think of independent administration, where an executor, generally free of court control, must distribute estate property according to the terms of the will. There are less involved probate procedures, including muniment of title, small estate affidavit, and affidavits of heirship that may be available, depending on the facts of the case.
When someone passes away and leaves behind a surviving spouse or minor child and the value of the estate (not including the value of any homestead property) does not exceed a certain amount, it may be possible for the survivors to obtain an order of no administration.
If the surviving spouse or children qualify for a family allowance, they can petition to the court and ask for an order of no administration and ask the court to fix the family allowance. As long as the value of the property in the decedent’s estate does not exceed the amount of the family allowance, a court can issue an order of no administration.
If there are bank accounts or other property that requires administration, and the bank requires that an executor obtain letters testamentary, then an order of no administration is not appropriate. An order of no administration means that no one will receive letters testamentary.
The court can revoke the order of no administration within one year after it is entered if additional property has been discovered, and that property requires administration; property was omitted from the application for no administration; or the property included in the original application was valued too low.