Probate is the legal process of administering a person’s estate after their death. It includes proving in court that their will is valid, identifying, inventorying and gathering their property, having the property appraised, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining property based on the valid will or state law, if there is no will. Probate is a lengthy and, possibly, expensive legal process. And it is, usually, the last thing a grieving family wants to undertake.
Probate rarely benefits your beneficiaries due to the time and expenses associated with the probate process. There are many valid reasons why you may not be able to avoid probate completely, such as owning immovable assets in multiple states, contesting a will, or naming a valid executor.
We assist clients to enact probate avoidance strategies, where possible. Some common probate-avoidance strategies include revocable living trusts, joint ownership of assets and naming death beneficiaries, making lifetime gifts and purchasing life insurance.