Think You Are Able To Avoid Probate? Three Common Mistakes We See


Did you know that going through probate can be a costly and timely process. Are you not concerned because you do not believe your estate will be subject to probate? Let us take a look at three mistakes we see when people think they can avoid probate. 

1. Far too many people operate under the misguided belief that they may be too young or not rich enough to engage in estate planning. Without an estate plan in place, your estate will very likely go through the probate process. Even if a person has very little money, simply owning a home may require his or her estate to be probated. As unfortunate as it may be, there can be no guarantees in life, which means that we often see younger people, who unexpectedly passed away with no estate plan in place, guaranteeing their family will have to go through the process of probate. Without as much as a will in place, the probate process can be even more complex, as state intestacy laws will come into play.

2. Even when a person has an estate plan in place, failure to update it can be a mistake which makes probate necessary after his or her passing. We see this when people acquire new assets, such as a home and do not update their estate planning documents to include the new asset. We also see this when decedents did not update their beneficiaries and when they pass away, the beneficiaries that they named many years before, may have predeceased them. Failure to make these kinds of updates can mean that even if you had an estate plan in place geared towards avoiding probate, failure to update beneficiaries or properly account for newly acquired assets may mean more of your estate is heading for probate.

3. Estate planning can be a complex area of law, which can be constantly changing by virtue of legislative changes and court rulings. Changes in the law may impact your estate plans in profound ways, including pushing your estate towards probate when you may have looked to avoid it. Updating your estate plan to reflect current laws can be critical in helping to ensure the goals of your estate plan are realized.

Working with a qualified estate planning attorney can be a strong step towards establishing an effective estate plan. Our office is available to help put a plan in place to protect a future you want for your estate and your loved ones. Please feel free to reach out to our office to schedule a meeting.