If your spouse passes away and the probate estate assets are under a certain dollar amount, you may be able to file a shortened probate process called “Spousal Refusal of Letters.” According to RSMo 473.090, a surviving spouse may petition the court for a refusal of letters if the following conditions are met:
- The entire estate (minus liens ) must be less than the amount that is allowed as exempt property and the allowance to the surviving spouse or unmarried children.
The above statute that allows for a spousal refusal of letters does not specify a maximum limit on the dollar amount of the probate assets. However, in some counties, such as St. Louis County, the probate judges are hesitant to grant a spousal refusal of letters if the probate assets are over a certain dollar amount (e.g. $24,000).