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Probate is the legal term that is used to describe the court process that takes place after an individual’s death to make sure all debts are paid as well as the distribution of all assets to the correct beneficiaries. Like so many other topics within estate planning, there are often misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding the probate process. However, having a valid estate plan in place before your death is important to not only ensuring that your family is taken care of, but will also help guide the courts through probate if needed.
What is Probate?
Above we talked about how probate is the court process that takes place after an individual’s death to settle any debts and to distribute assets. While having a valid will in place can help your family avoid the probate process, most Missouri estates still have to go through the probate process.
Can I Avoid Probate?
While there are several ways to help your estate avoid probate in the state of Missouri, like placing your assets in a living trust, if someone were to contest your will – then it would automatically go to probate. Because of this complexity, it’s wise to prepare your estate to avoid probate but also to leave your family with a plan for probate if it occurs.
How Do I Plan for Probate?
Adding your assets to a living trust and specifying who you are leaving them to will help your will avoid probate – but also show the court your intentions and wishes if your estate does go to probate.
Leaving a list of any debts your estate may have is extremely beneficial to all involved in the probate process. In addition, by leaving your well-intended wishes for your estate in a will, also helps make the probate process much smoother for all parties involved.
While we would all love to avoid probate and make this process as quick and painless as possible for our loved ones, unfortunate circumstances do happen. It’s best to hope for the best and prepare for the worst in order to turn a difficult situation into a slightly easier one.
To learn more about planning your estate and preparing for probate, do not hesitate to reach out to the Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm either by calling 417-623-2062 or using the contact form on our website.
Contact the Estate Planning Attorneys at the Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm