Is it possible to avoid probate?

| May 2, 2021 | Probate Administration |

As explained by U.S. News & World Report, all wills must go through probate. However, with a legally binding document and an executor in place, the process usually progresses smoothly.

Trouble arises when family members challenge a will, in which case the court might make decisions counter to your wishes. While you can avoid probate, you can also take further measures to prevent disputes.

Steps to avoiding probate

Assets placed into a trust do not go through probate. Upon funding the trust, ownership of assets passes from you to the trust, which means they are not technically part of the estate. You may also choose to make your heirs co-owner of an asset, but keep in mind that will give them control over assets while you are still alive.

How to prevent in-fighting between heirs

Another major estate planning concern is strife between family members. Some heirs might feel left out if they do not receive the same amount as other family members. They may also accuse other heirs coercing the deceased or somehow being deceptive.

While cannot always prevent family from squabbling over your estate, you can make it less likely. If you feel your decisions are controversial, discuss them with family members. Simply explaining your reasoning could prevent a major battle.

You can also include certain clauses in your will to deter heirs from contesting it. A mediation clause stipulates that disputes must involve an impartial mediator who will make a decision on the matter. An in terrorem clause says that anyone who challenges the will loses their inheritance, but these clauses do not always stand up in court.