Rhode Island Probate | Rhode Island Inheritance Advances

Process Of Probate in Rhode Island

Is Probate Required in Rhode Island?

Most estates in Rhode Island must go through the probate process unless factors like the estate’s value allow probate to be avoided. In most cases, these assets must go through probate:

  • Real estate
  • Assets with tenants in common
  • Assets owned solely by the decedent — the person who passed away
  • Assets without a named beneficiary

Heirs can avoid probate if the decedent takes a few actions, such as:

  • Making a revocable living trust: If a decedent places their assets in a trust, their assets can bypass the probate process. The trust goes directly to the named beneficiaries after the decedent’s passing.
  • Creating joint tenancy accounts: Assets held in joint tenancy can avoid probate. Real estate, bank accounts and other assets will transfer to the joint owner.
  • Naming beneficiaries: When a decedent names beneficiaries on all their accounts and policies, those assets can go right to the beneficiaries instead of getting caught up in probate. Life insurance, retirement accounts and a few other assets can have beneficiaries.
  • Creating assets as payable-on-death: An asset with a payable- or transferable-on-death provision will go to the named beneficiary. No probate will be necessary to transfer the assets.

Process of Probate in Rhode Island

The probate process serves an important purpose in Rhode Island. When a Rhode Island resident dies, the state probate courts oversee the distribution of the decedent’s assets and belongings.

The probate process requires these steps:

  1. File a petition: The decedent’s will is filed with the probate court, assuming they have a will and did not die intestate — without a valid will.
  2. Identify the representative: The decedent’s will should name an executor. If there’s no will, the court appoints a representative. The executor will control the estate, itemize and collect all monetary accounts and assets, pay off all outstanding debts, and validate any existing wills.
  3. Notify heirs: The executor sends notice to the heirs listed in the will. If there’s no will, they’ll notify the next of kin. Heirs or any interested party can contest the will.
  4. Publish notice: The executor publishes notice for any creditors.
  5. Inventory the estate: The representative inventories and appraises the estate’s assets and submits their findings to the court.
  6. Pay debts: The estate’s money pays off any outstanding debts the decedent has.
  7. Distribute the assets: When the court recognizes that these steps are complete, they’ll authorize the distribution of inheritance to the heirs. The distributions — who gets what — follow the directions in the will or Rhode Island’s inheritance structure if there is no will.
  8. Close the estate: After the estate’s debts are paid and assets distributed, the executor submits receipts and records to the court to officially close the estate.

How Long Does Probate Take?

Probate in Rhode Island can be a long process. Many factors affect the length of probate, such as the complexity of the estate and disputes among heirs.

Rhode Island has one of the shortest timeframes in the United States for heirs to submit the will. Once the heir is notified of the decedent’s death, they have 30 days to file probate with the court. Claiming estate assets without filing for probate may result in a contempt of court charge and possible jail time.

Until the probate process is complete, beneficiaries cannot receive their inheritance. This rule means you could wait years to get the money your loved one wanted you to have.

How Much Does Probate Cost in Rhode Island?

The cost of probate in Rhode Island is different for every case. Factors that affect probate cost include:

  • Size and complexity of the estate
  • Whether a probate attorney was consulted
  • Disputes over the will
  • Estate plans

Common probate expenses include:

  • Appraisal costs
  • Attorney fees
  • Professional fees
  • Court filing fees
  • Executor fees
  • Probate bonds
  • Personal representative compensation
  • Legal fees from settling disputes between heirs

These expenses are paid from the decedent’s estate, so by the time probate is over, each heir’s share will be less than it was to start.

Is Probate Necessary Without a Will?

Any Rhode Island estate larger than $15,000 is subject to probate regardless of whether the deceased had a will. The probate process verifies who will control and inherit assets from the estate. If the decedent died intestate, the assets will go to the next of kin — the closest surviving blood relatives.

The estate should go to the closest relatives according to Rhode Island’s intestate succession laws. These laws define who the next of kin are and the inheritance structure. The succession order for next of kin is:

  1. Spouse
  2. Children
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings
  5. Nieces and nephews
  6. Grandparents
  7. Aunts and uncles
  8. Cousins

The next of kin eligible for an inheritance, and what they will inherit, depends on the decedent’s survivors. The next of kin must survive the decedent by 120 hours to be able to inherit, according to Rhode Island’s intestate succession laws. Here’s what you need to know about inheritances when there is no will:

  • The surviving spouse will receive the entire estate if they’re the only survivor. If any other next of kin survives, the spouse will inherit a maximum of $150,000 in real estate and lifelong rights to use the real estate. The spouse will also receive $50,000 in personal property plus half the balance. The rest of the estate goes through the intestate succession.
  • If the decedent has surviving children and a spouse, the children will receive the remainder of the estate.
  • Surviving children will split the entire estate if there is no surviving spouse.
  • If the spouse and parents survive, the parents inherit the remainder of the estate.

The next of kin can inherit the probate estate. Non-probate assets or assets in a revocable trust cannot be passed down to the next of kin.

Delays to Your Inheritance in Rhode Island

The Rhode Island probate process can take an extremely long time from start to finish. Heirs cannot access the money the decedent wanted them to receive until after probate. Furthermore, the average estate in the United States takes a year and a half to complete — a shocking fact to many Rhode Island heirs new to the process. Finding a way to expedite the probate process can alleviate a great deal of frustration after a loved one passes away.

Inheritance Tax in Rhode Island

Rhode Island does not charge an inheritance tax. However, the wealthiest estates may be subject to a state or federal estate tax. Rhode Island’s maximum estate tax rate is 16%, whereas the federal estate tax rate caps at 40%. The executor must pay estate taxes before distributing inheritances to heirs.

Access Your Inheritance in Rhode Island Immediately

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With hundreds of millions advanced to thousands of heirs across the country since 1992, we have the expertise and size to help you immediately.

Let our friendly staff give you a free, obligation-free consultation. We’re more than happy to walk you through the Rhode Island probate process and answer all of your questions. There are no hidden fees, no monthly payments and limited credit or income restrictions. There’s no need to wait years for what’s yours — contact us today and access your money right away.