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The administration of an estate in the probate division also serves to establish clear title to any real estate that the deceased may have owned at the time of death. Real property passes directly to one's heirs, or to one's devisee if a will is admitted to probate; thus, it does not technically form a part of the probate estate unless it becomes necessary to sell the property to pay debts or for certain other reasons as set out in the statutes.
However, even though real property does not always form a part of the estate, if there is no probate administration it may be impossible for the heirs to pass clear title to the property for one year after death. This is due to the fact that, in Missouri, a will may be filed at any time within one year after the death of the individual executing the will and that will could possibly alter the ownership of the property.
Similarly, creditors may take actions to enforce claims that could force the sale of real property. However, if an estate is probated, the period of time in which the title to the real property can be so affected is reduced to approximately six months after the opening of the estate.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified estate planning lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local estate planning attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.