Refusal of Letters — When Probate is Not Required

A Probate Court is not obligated to grant a petition for Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration (see my post on Letters Testamentary and Letters of Administration for the distinction). Pursuant to 473.090 RSMo the Probate Court may refuse the grant of letters on a number of grounds. The insufficient estate value basis is one of the most common ground for refusal.
When the estate of the decedent does not exceed fifteen-thousand dollars ($15,000.00) and there is no widower any creditor of the estate may apply for refusal of letters by giving bond in the sum of not less than the value of the estate. The Court may dispense with the filing of a bond if the court finds the bond is not necessary. Proof may be allowed by the widower, unmarried minor children, or creditor concerning the value of the estate. If the proof shows that no estate will be left after allowing to the surviving spouse or unmarried minor children their exempt property or that the personal estate does not exceed $15,000.00 when application is made by a creditor, the court may issue a refusal of letters.

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