Once again last week I got to explain to a client that Wills only work through the probate system. A very, very nice lady came in with her elderly mother’s will. It had been prepared by an out of town firm by a lawyer recommended by a financial planner. The will was simple, but valid. When I asked her if she was really okay with her mother’s estate passing through probate a look of surprise and confusion came over her face.
I explained, as I have many times, that the best definition of a will is a “set of instructions to the probate court”. I thought she was going to cry. Apparently it had been quite an ordeal just to get the will completed and executed.
To be fair, there are times when probate has benefits, but they are fairly few and far between. I have NEVER had a client come in and tell me they wanted to be sure their estate was probated. I doubt that I ever will (no pun intended!) The thought that Wills avoid Probate is very common, but also very wrong.
How do you avoid Probate? There are several solutions, but, in many cases the use of a Trust Based Plan is the best answer.
Email us if you need more help or have questions about how to best avoid probate.