Probate is the formal process of gathering a decedent’s assets, paying creditors, and disposition of remaining assets in accordance with a decedent’s will or the laws of intestacy. Although thoughts of probate often conjure up negative perceptions, probate can be and often is a useful tool, when necessary. The probate process is set forth by state statute and is therefore subject to and administered by the probate court.
Many clients often express a desire to avoid probate. This can often be accomplished through the use of various estate planning tools such as revocable living trusts, beneficiary deeds, and the utilization of “payable on death” beneficiary designations.