last will and testament

Estate planning instruments, including trusts, can be used to avoid the probate process.

If some information you have seen or heard has led you to believe a will does not have to go through probate, you are just plain wrong, according to TC Palm in “Common misconceptions about wills and trusts.”

Sometimes, misconceptions begin with TV shows or movies that are just that – TV shows and movies. They don’t have to present the law as it actually is.

Another way to come up with a misconception is that, in some states, if an estate is small enough, then it does not have to go through probate. Usually, these are very small estates with very few assets. It certainly isn’t the norm.

Someone with good intentions probably had a relative or friend who passed away with few assets and as a consequence, the will did not have to go through probate.

However, most wills do have to go through probate. They need to be submitted to the court and approved.

The probate court then oversees the administration of the estate as conducted by the executor or personal representative.

If you want your estate to avoid probate, what you need is not a will.

Instead you need to use other estate planning instruments,  such as trusts.

An estate planning attorney can advise you on creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances and also conforms to the laws on wills and trusts in your state of residence.

Reference: TC Palm (Oct. 5, 2017) “Common misconceptions about wills and trusts.”

For more information on asset preservation and estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.