A probate is what we call the legal proceeding that happens within the court system to distribute assets of somebody who passes away.
Normally, it follows the wishes of a will. And a will is where the testator, the individual who is passing things along, expresses his desires on how he wants things divvied up upon his death. And that makes it pretty simple to have a really short, easy probate.
There are still expenses involved, there are still legal fees and there are accounting and other fees. So having a will is not the best way to go about it. But it is at least a lot simpler if you have a will. If you don’t have a will then we look at intestate laws. Those are the laws of the state of Arizona, or the state wherever you are where you pass away, that are going to govern the distribution of your assets.
If you have a will, the court gets involved, the judge gets involved. Lots of other people have an opportunity to come in and object if they don’t like how things are going. If they think the people who are administering the estate are not doing it right, or even if they got left out of the will or just feel like generally they want a piece of the action. All that can happen because somebody chose to have a will only, or no will, and didn’t have a trust.
And so that’s what probate is. It’s a legal proceeding and you’re basically asking for a lawsuit if you go intestate or if you have only a will. So, you probably generally want to avoid probate, and that’s what we help you do.