Clients have many misconceptions when it comes to Probate. This article will help clarify the more common uncertainties. First off, having a Will does not avoid probate – it is merely a roadmap in which to navigate Probate.
Estate Planning is much more than just signing your Last Will & Testament. Many clients believe that a Will supersedes all other contracts and designations. In reality, the outcome is completely the opposite. A Will only controls “probated assets.” What exactly is a probate? In practice, the probate consists of assets not otherwise distributed or handled at your death. Essentially, they are the assets remaining in your name that do not have joint ownership or designations; a bank account that was in solely your name would be “probated” and passed down according to your Will. The following are examples of assets that pass outside of probate and are thus not controlled by your Will.