I wrote the book on Minnesota probate.

Is a will enough to prevent probate?

On Behalf of | Sep 17, 2021 | Estate Planning |

Many people feel that having a will is enough to help their family avoid probate after their death, but that isn’t necessarily the truth. A will doesn’t necessarily avoid probate, though it may make probate faster and easier.

If you want to avoid probate, you need to minimize how many assets are in your estate in your name when you pass away. You want to avoid having assets left behind that aren’t assigned to others.

One of the easiest ways to avoid probate is to put all of your assets into a revocable trust or living trust. This will remove them from your name and place them into the hands of a third-party trustee. Then, after you pass, the trustee can pass those assets on to your beneficiaries.

Why should you consider a trust for your assets?

Setting up a trust is an easy way to manage your assets and make sure probate won’t be a problem in the future. With an irrevocable trust, you can also protect your assets against creditors and reduce the value of your estate during your lifetime, so that you may avoid losing those assets or having them harshly taxed as a part of your estate upon death.

Revocable trusts also help, as they take assets out of the trustor’s name upon death. This means that you can adjust the trust as you see fit during your lifetime, but when you die, those assets will be in the hands of a trustee who will implement the terms of the trust at that time.

Why do you want to avoid the probate process?

Probate has the potential to be costly, time-consuming and upsetting to family members. Your family may need to come from out of state to handle your affairs or to be represented in court, which can be costly if more than one court date is necessary.

There are around 17 tasks that need to be performed during probate, so if your family is left with those, they may feel overwhelmed. Avoiding probate is a better choice, but if you pass and they need help, then working with a probate attorney could be the next appropriate step.