The state of Idaho has an interesting and expedited probate process for certain estates. This process is called, “Summary Administration,” and can be utilized by a surviving spouse. Not only is it efficient, it can also be much less expensive than formal probate.
The simplified procedure begins by filing a petition that establishes the surviving spouse is the sole beneficiary or heir, that they were married to the decedent at the time of death, and that the decedent, has in fact, died.
If the decedent died testate (meaning they had executed a Will), the original Will is also filed with the Court.
A hearing is then scheduled -- the surviving spouse does not even need to appear at said hearing. Then, if the court concludes the surviving spouse was indeed the sole heir or devisee, a decree is made to that effect. The decree has the same effect as a formal decree determining distribution.
Electing to proceed under Summary Administration is usually only beneficial where the decedent does not have many debts, or has only minimal debts. This is because the surviving spouse assumes any and all debts of the decedent.
For more information, see Idaho Code, Section 15-3-1205.