Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Rhode Island

Probating a Will with no assets

My father in-law recently passed away and his will is outdated. Anything he could have bequethed he does not own anymore. The house was sold to his sons for the debt owed on it. The bank accounts are co-owned with my Mother-in-law. The car is also in her name. He only has personal items left. No assets. Do we still have to submit his will through probate?

Asked on 6/08/09, 7:09 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Staff General Counsel LawyersCollaborative

Re: Probating a Will with no assets

Yes and no.

Yes, if you have a person's original Will, you are you are legally obligated to file it with the probate court within 30 days after death, even if there are no assets. The probate court generally would be the court in the city or town where the person lived just prior to death.

But "probate" is misleading in such cases - where there are little assets, one may file a small estate affidavit, and where there are no assets, one may file an affidavit of no assets.

An Affidavit is simply a statement sworn under oath to the best of your personal knowledge.

Perhaps most conveniently these days for anyone with a computer, would be to go to the probate court forms website maintained by the Rhode Island Secretary of State's Office here:



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Answered on 6/08/09, 9:37 pm

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