That dirty word… PROBATE!

The word probate conjures up awful images.  Attorneys, accountants, financial advisors, magazines, newspapers, and everybody talks about how awful probate is.  It makes you think of an old Judge, “taxes,” and you have been told it takes YEARS to finish.  None of that is reality.  Probate is not great but… I am here to say there are some cases… [before I say it, I am just saying there are SOME cases…] ok… here it comes… be ready… yes, there are SOME cases where probate makes sense.  Ok, I said it. Now let me say the corollary which is contrary to everything you have ever heard… there are SOME cases where a living trust is NOT beneficial for you.

The probate Court provides some oversight which is just not there with a trust.  This is because trusts are typically not court administered and thus the trustee has much more freedom… to much freedom sometimes!  Having the probate Court involved creates some oversight and rules that are to be followed. Though there are rules with a trust they are often ignored.  It’s hard to avoid the rules with a probate.

Thus, NOT avoiding probate may be good for some people.  Most notably for people who feel there is a strong probability of problems after death.  Kids who will fight, “his kids/her kids” situations, and difficult assets are likely to cause problems.  Why spend the money for a trust?  Just get a will and let the probate Court rules help control the chaos after death!

When probate is done right, as I do, it’s really a sensible and organized system.  The rules are clearly laid out and, if done by an experience attorney, should take between 7 and 12 months.  Yes, it costs more than a trust, typically, but no cost is to great if it can reduce family fighting!

I am not saying you should not have a written estate plan because you should for sure have that. However, maybe you don’t need a trust!?

Call me to discuss YOUR situation!


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