What is Probate?
After a person dies, the ownership of his or her property, assets and personal possessions must be legally transferred to the heirs of the Estate. Probate is the name given to this process. If the decedent had a Will, the assets are distributed pursuant to the instructions in the Will. If no Will exists, state law directs how the property will be distributed. This probated Will then becomes a legal document that may be enforced by the executor or personal representative in Court.
Why is Probate Necessary?
Probate is necessary to ensure a person’s final wishes are considered after death. A decedent’s Will can be overruled by a judge; therefore probate is necessary to protect the rights of the beneficiaries. Generally, the probate process resolves any challenges and clarifies any issues regarding the distribution of funds of an Estate and the title for the property of an Estate. Whether a Will exists, probate is necessary to allow the assets of an Estate to be distributed appropriately to the rightful heirs. Even if a Will exists, there are often issues with the Will, such as fraudulent execution, mistakes, or competing issues that raise challenges in the probate process.
How Can You Avoid Probate?
The best way to avoid probate is with a living trust. By holding your valuable property in trust, the trust property is no longer a part of your probate estate because a trustee now maintains ownership of the property. After your death, the trustee has the ability to transfer and distribute property to the persons you designate without use of probate. You can appoint the beneficiaries of your property in the trust document, just as you would in your Will.
We at Dillman and Associates http://www.dillmanlawoffice.com focus on helping seniors and their families navigate the probate process, as well as helping to avoid probate altogether.