Probate occurs when you have a will, but not a trust.
Probate is the legal process which must take place when a person dies and the items in their estate are valued above a certain amount [varies by state - NJ, MD, Pa and VA - $50,000 - DE, $30,000] AND/OR dies owning real estate of any value.
Items that pass to someone via a designation of beneficiary [life insurance, IRA, etc] are not included in the estate.
Probate is a long process that's extremely complex and very expensive.
Because of that most people will want to avoid probate by planning ahead. A proper estate plan will prevent probate costs and hassles.
A traditional Will alone will NOT avoid probate, however a properly drafted Trust can.
Estate planning is not just for rich people. As stated above if you die with real estate valued at only $10,000 it will be required.
Because many types of assets cannot pass via beneficiary a proper estate plan will include a Trust.
A Trust is a legal instrument and agreement that will hold the assets and pass them to the beneficiary at your death.
You can have complete use of any real estate owned by a Trust so don't worry about your home or real estate.
There are different types of Trusts used for estate planning so be sure to consult an attorney to who also an expert with Long Term Care Planning, including Medicaid planning.
Traditional estate plans can disqualify someone from receiving Medical Assistance for their cost of long term care.
Proper planning has many layers and can be complex even with a modest net worth.
Contact us today for expert help with all of your planning needs