When creating your estate plan, you may read about the need to avoid probate. Many people suggest avoiding this process for a number of reasons. Its important to understand what probate is and how it fits into your estate plan, so that youre prepared. Take a look at some of the information below, to better understand probate. If you have any questions, or if youd like to discuss probate avoidance techniques, meet with an estate planning attorney.
What is probate?
Probate is a legal process in which an estate is administered (i.e. settled.) The court validates the will. Throughout the process, the will is used to determine how certain affairs are handled. The executor must follow all of the orders from the court. This will help to ensure that all of the affairs are handled correctly.
What if there is no will?
If there is no will, probate still occurs so long as you own assets in your individual name. It can be more complicated and time consuming to handled an estates affairs without the use of a will. If you die without a will, your states laws (i.e. intestacy laws) will determine how your assets are distributed. These intestacy laws decide who will your assets and how much of your assets they will receive. The court will also appoint an administrator (like an executor) as well as a guardian for your minor children, if needed.
If you dont have a will, you have no say in the above matters. If youve been putting off creating your will, now is the time to create one. Though your affairs will still be handled through probate court, you can at least have a say how your affairs are handled.
Take a look at our next blog post, to learn more about probate (part 2 of 2).