Wills & Probate Lawyers

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A will is a written or oral communication by a person stating how they want their property disposed of at death. Probate describes the judicial process that oversees the distribution and/or management of your estate after your death. This may include distributing your remaining assets (house, car, cash, other property) and paying off any debts you may have incurred in life (refer to the LegalMatch Law Library article entitled inheriting debt). Probate can be costly when the deceased has left no will or instructions for distribution of their assets or belongings after their passing. Avoiding probate can usually speed up the process of settling your estate (see the article: Pros and Cons of Avoiding Probate).

There are three ways to avoid probate. You can own property with someone else, such as your spouse or legal partner, is called joint tenancy. In a joint tenancy or joint possession of real property, when you pass away, the co-owner automatically receives full ownership of the asset (see Roth IRA and Estate Beneficiaries), without having to go through probate to pass the title. Life insurance automatically guarantees that the named beneficiaries receive the benefit directly after your death (see Estate Planning Life Insurance). The last way to avoid probate is creating a Trust, whereby you transfer the legal title to an asset to someone designated as a trustee (yourself or another individual). In the event of your death, the trustee is bound, according to the terms of the trust, to distribute your property as you direct.

It is in your and your family's best interest to consult with an Estate Planning Lawyer.

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