Probate is the legal process that takes place after a person passes away, where their estate is settled and distributed to the beneficiaries named in their will or as designated by state law if there is no will. Probate is overseen by a court and can take several months to complete. Probate can be a lengthy and expensive process, and it can also be emotionally challenging for the decedent's loved ones.

When a person dies, their assets, including real estate, bank accounts, and personal belongings, are referred to as their estate. If the person had a will, the will typically names an executor who is responsible for managing the estate through the probate process. If there is no will, a court-appointed administrator will manage the estate.

The probate process involves several steps, including:

1. Filing a petition with the probate court in the jurisdiction where the deceased person lived at the time of their death.

2. Notifying creditors and beneficiaries of the deceased person's death.

3. Identifying and gathering the deceased person's assets.

4. Paying off any outstanding debts, taxes, and expenses.

5. Distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries named in the will or as designated by state law if there is no will.

One way to avoid probate is to establish a revocable living trust, which allows assets to be transferred to a trust during the person's lifetime. When the person passes away, the assets are distributed to the beneficiaries named in the trust, without the need for probate.

Another way to avoid probate is to name beneficiaries for retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other financial assets. These assets will pass directly to the named beneficiaries without going through probate.

It's important to work with an experienced estate planning attorney to determine the best course of action for your individual situation.

Set up a 15-minute intake call with me today to create a plan that will keep your assets and loved ones out of court and out of conflict!