What Actually Is Probate?
Probate is a court process that requires people, whether or not they have a will, to come in to have things validated. The word “Probate” comes from a Latin verb called “probate,” which means to validate, verify and ensure that something is correct. Whether or not someone had a will, they might find themselves in the probate process.
Without a will, it would be called intestate, and with the will, it would just be a regular probate and the court would have to determine if it was valid. In the event there was no will whatsoever, they would have to determine who should be appointed the administrator over the estate for purposes of distributing the remaining assets to some family members.
Why Is Probate Necessary?
The probate is necessary to ensure that fraud does not occur, that the right people will get appointed, and that if a person did have a will, it would be validated, whereas if they did not have a will then that fraud would be mitigated by appointing somebody else like an administrator who is appointed by the courts. The courts want to make sure they also get their piece of the action but they are also there as some form of a referee to ensure things go in the best direction possible based on their intervention.
Can Someone Avoid Probate Of Their Estate?
Yes, they can avoid probate of their estate by proper structuring, by virtue of the operation of the law or contractual relationships or they could move various assets into a living trust, thereby bypassing the probate system.
Is There Anything Else People Should Know About Probate?
The sheer numbers of people nationwide who have to deal with probate is just surprising. We find that 55 percent of Americans ask two main questions, regarding whether or not they would need a will and whether or not they needed a trust. Whether or not someone had a will, they would ultimately end up in the probate system because probate would be for validating and verifying the will.
We also see that out of that 55 percent of Americans that fail to get those questions answered and are entrapped in the probate process, the whole system generates around $2.8 billion per year. I cannot complain as an attorney because 1.3 billion of those dollars go to law firms, however, there is another way and we are really all about showing people the other way to avoid probate by using the four core.
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