What is Probate Court and How to Avoid It

Probate is the official proving of a will. A probate court is where a will’s validity is determined. If a will does not exist, a person’s estate will be settled in a probate court. Generally, it is best to arrange the matters of your estate so as to avoid probate court.

Proper estate planning can go a long way in helping you avoid probate court. Having a properly constructed will or trust is an important step. To be sure that your document will be legally binding, it is best to consult with an estate planner or attorney. The surest way of having your estate land in probate court is to neglect writing a will or to have one that does not stand up to legal scrutiny.

By working with an attorney, you will greatly increase your chances of being able to avoid probate court. Whether you choose to hire an attorney or to try doing it all yourself, there are certain things you can do to avoid probate court.

Make a Living Trust

A living trust is similar to a will but with some key differences. A will is a document that, among other things, outlines how you would like your assets distributed after you die. A living trust is also put into action after death, but it places assets in a trust, meaning that a third party is assigned to manage the trust.

Assign Beneficiaries to Bank Accounts

Many banks have an option to name a beneficiary. If you do this, the contents of your account will go to your named beneficiary, instead of through probate court — some investment plans and retirement plans as well as pensions are good examples of this.

Hold Joint Property

For those with a partner, holding property jointly, where the property is in both of your names, is a good way to avoid probate court. This way, the property will pass automatically to the surviving partner.

To find out more about avoiding probate, schedule a consultation today.