The issue of probate raises many concerns and questions. Weve addressed 5 frequently asked probate questions below. Should you have further questions, please feel free to contact a qualified probate attorney.
- When is my will filed at the courthouse?
Your personal representative (i.e. executor) will file your will in at the courthouse after your death. Until you die, your will is not filed anywhere because its private and you can change it so long as you maintain testamentary capacity.
- Does my personal representative have to hire a probate attorney?
There are really two answers to this question; first, legally, there is no requirement to hire a probate lawyer; however, second, in practicality a probate lawyer is usually a must. There are many legal hoops to jump through during the probate process and your personal representative will be personally liable for mistakes made.
- What is ancillary probate?
Ancillary probate refers to the situation wherein your estate must go through probate in two or more states. Ancillary probate is typically triggered by real estate such as a time share, vacation home, or investment property owned in a state other than your state of residence when you die.
- Why does it seem everyone wants to avoid probate?
Probate costs time and money and is, generally, a hassle. In addition, your will and probate filings are all a matter of public record; this means anyone and everyone has access to them and can see a list of your assets, liabilities, beneficiaries, and personal representatives.
- How can I avoid probate?
You can avoid probate by not owning any assets in your individual name; only assets in your individual name trigger the probate process.
Instead, own assets in a revocable living trust, by beneficiary designation, or jointly. Or, you can pass assets during your lifetime to avoid probate.
If probate is a concern, consult with a qualified estate planning probate attorney.