Should I avoid probate?

Probate is perceived by many to be an expensive and time-consuming legal process.  Although some situations yield a different outcome, the majority of cases are efficient and without complication.  The following scenarios justify avoidance of probate:

  1. Property owned in multiple states
  2. Business ownership
  3. Disproportionate distribution to beneficiaries (including disinheritance)
  4. A special needs or incapacitated heir
  5. Second marriage situations (especially when there are children from prior relationships)
  6. Probate assets that consist of perishable property or assets requiring immediate management
  7. Lack of liquidity outside of the estate in which to pay for final expenses
  8. Minor heirs
  9. There are assets that require quick action and decisions following death (e.g. income producing property or business inventory)
  10. Importance of anonymity (trusts are private, Wills are public)