What is probate?
Probate is the legal process that’s used to settle an estate after an owner’s passing. It’s a court-supervised proceeding that authenticates a Will, appoints or approves a named executor, and begins the process of distributing an estate’s assets and property to rightful heirs and beneficiaries.
Most people who go through the probate process for the first time find themselves scratching their head, wondering what is probate court, and more importantly, do we really need to deal with this?
Do you absolutely have to go through probate to settle an estate? The answer, in short, is maybe. Probate will almost always be necessary, especially if an estate owner doesn’t have a proper estate plan in place, but knowing how to navigate it will make the entire process much easier.
Not sure if you need to go through probate? Need help probating the estate of a loved one? Learn more about Probate with Trust & Will.
How to avoid probate
Fortunately, there are a few strategic ways you can create your estate plan so it’ll avoid (or at least largely simplify) the probate process for your loved ones. One of the easiest and most concrete ways is by creating a Trust.
A Trust is an estate planning tool that creates a fiduciary relationship between the creator (grantor or trustor), and whomever they name to manage the Trust (the trustee). The Trust holds assets for the ultimate benefit of one or more beneficiaries. Once a Trust is created, it must be funded (by transferring assets to Trust ownership).
Start your Trust with Trust & Will today. We even offer complete Deed Transfer Service so you can accomplish important steps like retitling and transferring real estate assets into the Trust for ultimate protection.
Other ways to avoid probate include:
Gift assets to Beneficiaries while you’re still alive
Retitle bank accounts and other allowable assets to be TOD or POD
Limit the value of your estate
Retitle real estate assets to be jointly-owned with right of survivorship
Still need help with probate? Choose the plan that's right for you.
Probate process: a step-by-step guide
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Commonly asked questions about probate
A Will can be contested if there’s concern the Testator (the person who wrote the Will) wasn’t stable or competent, or if there’s suspicion they were under duress at the time of signing. Wills can also be contested if they are found to be fraudulent or invalid.
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