The short answer is “no”, you don’t have to file probate. An attorney can help you understand the details and requirements of dealing with these types of situations, and whether it’s a good option for your personal situation. This short video below shows Anthony Albertazzi talking about your options if you were named in someone’s will:
One of the main reasons people may not want to take this step is because they think that they will be responsible for the deceased person’s bills. This is not the case, if you file probate you are just taking care of the deceased person’s finances by being authorized to legally distribute their assets. You are not legally liable to cover the deceased person’s debts, even if those assets aren’t sufficient to cover those debts.
If someone close to you has died and left something to you in their will, and you’re not sure about what you should do, or what you have to do, your best solution may be to consult an attorney. Law firms that handle family law and estate planning could be a great source of useful information.