Creating a will is an important step in the estate planning process. But can it help your family avoid probate after your death? The answer is that it depends on the circumstances.
Our attorneys at Law Office of Ralph W. Powers, Jr., PC. can help you create a comprehensive estate plan that allows your family members to bypass probate. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation with a probate lawyer.
Do Wills Go Through Probate?
A will is a document that details your plans for your estate after you pass away. While creating a will can provide clarity for your family and the court and streamline the probate process, in most cases, it does not avoid probate altogether.
However, certain circumstances may allow the contents and directions in a will to bypass probate. We will discuss these circumstances below.
When Do Wills Go Through Probate?
In most cases, when a person dies, their will goes through probate. Probate is the process of authenticating the will and transferring administration of your assets according to your instructions in the will.
Probate is often necessary to ensure that all of the conditions in the will come to fruition. Wills are technical, legal documents, and you cannot always depend on a family member to fulfill your wishes without legal assistance. Additionally, sometimes wills contain mistakes, such as when beneficiaries are improperly titled, and probate can clear up these errors.
As a result, most wills must pass through this legal process.
When Do Wills Not Go Through Probate?
There are a few cases in which all or part of a will does not need to go through probate. For example, the following types of property and assets may be able to avoid probate:
- Jointly held assets that are partially in a surviving person’s name
- Property held within a revocable living trust
- Property within transfer on death or payable on death accounts
In most cases, wills do not avoid probate by chance. Instead, a probate lawyer has helped the creator of the will enact specific systems to ensure that their family can avoid probate.
How To Avoid Probate Legally
The simplest way to avoid probate is to set up a revocable living trust. This trust holds the items you would like to pass to beneficiaries upon your death. Then, when you die, the trust will transfer assets to beneficiaries directly without needing to go through probate.
Setting up a revocable living trust can be complicated on your own. Instead, we highly recommend that you hire a probate lawyer to assist you with this process. Your probate attorney can ensure that your trust contains the legal language to hold up in probate court, should it be contested.
Contact Our Maryland Probate Attorneys
If you’re looking to simplify the probate process for your family members, our team of probate lawyers can help. Contact our Law Office of Ralph W. Powers, Jr., PC. team today at 301-627-1000 to schedule your initial consultation.