Rhode Island offers a probate shortcut for "small estates." This makes it easier for survivors to transfer property left by a person who has died. You may be able to transfer a large amount of property using the following probate shortcut -- saving time, money, and hassle.
Rhode Island has a simplified probate process for small estates. To use it, an inheritor files a written request with the local probate court asking to use the simplified procedure. The court may authorize the inheritor to distribute the assets without having to jump through the hoops of regular probate.
You can use the simplified small estate process in Rhode Island if there is no real estate, and the value of property that would be subject to probate (not counting tangible personal property) doesn't exceed $15,000. There is a 30-day waiting period.
The request must contain the following information:
The inheritor pays a small filing fee (currently $30), and the court clerk gives him or her a certification of appointment that allows the inheritor to collect the deceased person's assets and sell them for cash, if desired. Before distributing assets to the inheritors, the inheritor must pay off debts and expenses in the following order:
For help determining if an estate qualifies for one of these probate shortcuts, or handling an estate in general, see see The Executor's Guide, by Mary Randolph (Nolo) or Estate Planning Basics, by Denis Clifford (Nolo).