Although some assets may not have to go through probate, they may nevertheless count toward an estate's valuation.
In most cases, properly executed estate planning goes smoothly. The court's main duties would be to interpret the will, designate an estate administrator if needed, and ensure the fair distribution of assets to the heirs as outlined in the estate plan. Sometimes, however, surviving family members will have disagreements regarding the will. In that case, a probate judge will have the additional responsibility of making decisions to settle the dispute.
One food magnate's estate has incited intense arguments between his beneficiaries and the estate's trustees. The trustees claim that since most of the assets are in Florida, it makes sense to go through probate court here. The food magnate's grown children claim that since they live in Minnesota, the trust should be resolved in courts there.
When a person's parent or spouse dies, managing their estate is probably one of the last things on the person's mind. However, once immediate issues are dealt with and initial grief has subsided, this person may realize that the parent or spouse's estate needs to be managed.