Although state probate laws and procedures vary, most states have state statutes addressing what may occur when your loved ones discover previously unidentified assets. Although relatively uncommon, many beneficiaries or administrators may closeout probate only to discover previously unidentified assets. You may have owned property that you forgot about and forgot to include the personal or real property in your will. Imagine a scenario in which you owned a safe deposit box containing expensive jewelry that you forgot about and forgot to include in your will. Perhaps your safe deposit box contained unredeemed bank notes or treasury bills.
According to the Uniform Probate Code, interested parties may request reopening of probate to address any newly discovered property their loved ones owned. The Uniform Probate Code specifically addresses these situations by providing interested parties with the ability to petition their probate courts to reopen their probate cases. In states that adopted the Uniform Probate Code’s treatment of newly discovered estate property, petitioners may be able to ask for a substitute appointment of an estate administrator or representative if the previous one obtained a discharge.
An important point to note is that in states that allow you to reopen probate, you cannot request reopening just for the sole purpose of reinstituting previously denied claims. In other words, if you unsuccessfully challenged a decedent’s will, you cannot reopen probate by claiming to have discovered new property solely to reassert your will contest. In this regard, note that the Uniform Probate Code provides a solution to prevent this from occurring.