What is probate?
Before the terms of your will can be carried out the court must accept the document. Probate is the name for the acceptance process.
What documents are needed for probate?
The court needs a copy of the will and a death certificate. Once the process is underway, an inventory of all assets and debts owned by the deceased is also required.
Can you avoid the process of probate?
One option is to create a revocable living trust and title your assets in the name of your trust; this is called funding your trust. It is now the record owner of your assets and there is no need for probate. However, any assets outside your trust at the time of death will need to be probated unless they have a beneficiary designation or owned with rights of survivorship with someone who survives you.
The bottom line
When it comes to estate planning, what works for you will depend on your own unique family and financial situation. By using one or more estate planning tools you can create peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones.