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Some Things You Should Know About Probate

Every adult should be thinking about his or her end-of-life documents. Many people fail to take the necessary steps to protect their wealth and their property, and because of that their estate ends up in something called probate. Here are some things you need to know about probate and how you can avoid it.

What Is Probate?

Probate is a court-mandated process that overlooks the distribution of your assets, wealth, and property after you die. It when a judge has to go through and help decide where to put things, and oversees your will to determine if everything as it should be. The problem is that probate is a long process, it could take up to months to get everything sorted out, and that is even if it isn't disputed. Another unfavorable part of probate is that everything goes on public record. If you leave everything as just a part of a will your will and everything in it will become a public document that anyone can read.

Can You Avoid Probate?

The good news is that there are ways to avoid probate, and in the majority of cases, even the courts want you to avoid it because it ties up the judges time and is generally something that can be resolved within the family and through the right legal channels.

One of the first things you need to do is to meet with an estate-planning or probate attorney before you pass away. They will help to organize your estate in a way that doesn't need to take everything through probate. You will still have a will, but it won't house your money. Instead, in your will you can give instructions as to minor children, but other than that everything else will go into trusts.

Trusts are ideal because you still have control over your money, but once you pass away the terms of the trust become binding. So in the trust you can deed your house to someone, you can set aside money for each child, for education and so forth.

In addition, you can avoid probate by gifting some of your estate and money before you pass away. There is a limit to how much you can gift each year without having to pay taxes on it. Some people do this so they can watch their children enjoy their inheritance before they pass away.

There are many more ways to avoid probate, the key is to be preventative and meet with an attorney, such as David R Webb Attorney, early on.