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  • Brittany Besler

I Heard Probate is BAD, Can I Avoid It With A Will?

I've heard many times that people know they WANT to avoid probate, but they don't know WHY or HOW. It can be true that probate can often leave something to be desired, and is not generally a fulfilling experience, but it is often part of the process when someone dies. Having a will alone cannot eliminate probate, but it can provide a road map to the court of your last wishes.


What is a Will?

A properly executed will is a legally binding document that tells the court a persons wishes on how their property should be distributed after they die. When a person dies without a will, or the will is invalid, they are considered to have died "intestate". When a person dies "intestate" the courts will distribute their property for them according to state intestacy statutes.


Complicating the matter is that every state has slight different intestacy statutes. The goal of these state statues being to designate a specific order of people who stand to inherit from the deceased, creating a priority list. Most people would like to have a say in how their property is distributed, and this is where having a will can make sure your property is distributed according to your priority list, and not the states.


The probate court will oversee the property in accordance with your will (or state statute, if "intestate"), this means they will provide legal supervision to ensure your wishes have been carried out.


How to Avoid Probate

If your true intent is to completely avoid probate, it requires more planning than simply having a will. The major component is if you have any property that is individually owned at the time of your death, your personal representative will need to go to probate court.


There are several ways to avoid this all together with careful planning and advice from an estate planning attorney. Everyone's familial and goals are different, which is why is is so important to find a trusted estate planning attorney to help honor and clearly designate your last wishes.


Besler Law is here to help you navigate these uncertain times, contact us today.


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