Is Probate Necessary?

October 6, 2010

Probate is the court administered process by which a decedent’s final affairs are publically settled. During this process an executor is appointed, the estate is inventoried, debts and taxes are paid, an accounting is rendered and property is finally distributed to the beneficiaries. Not all estates require probate. So, when is probate necessary?
Sole Property Ownership
If any of your property is titled solely in your name or if you have an account where you have not listed a beneficiary, that property must be probated to pass to your heirs. If property is titled in the name of a Trustee of a trust, it can pass to your heirs outside of probate. If you do have a Revocable Living Trust, but some property is left out of the Trust at your death, probate will be required to transfer ownership of those items to your Trustee.
Tenants in Common
If you own an asset as a tenant in common the other tenants in common will not receive your share of the property upon your death as with joint tennacy. Instead probate will be required to pass your interest in the asset to your heirs.
If a beneficiary deceases testate, or leaving a Will, the estate will necessarily be subject to a probate pprocess.
No Valid Will
If you pass away without making a Will you will have died intesteate. This means state law will determine the heirs of your estate. Probate will be necessary to name your estate executor and to decide your proper heirs.
Probate can be a frustrating, time consuming, expensive process that is controlled by the Court through a publioc process. This process can be avoided by the use of a Revocable Living Trust. Your designated Trustee can privately administer your estate in an efficient and cost effective manner preserving your hard earned estate for your loved ones avoiding unnecessary delays and administrative expenses.

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