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Should I Try To Avoid Probate?

Should I Try To Avoid Probate?

Probate avoidance seems to be a popular topic on everyone’s mind these days.  Certain popular television personalities and other public financial advisors appear to be praising the virtues of avoiding probate.

What Is Probate?
Probate is merely the process of having the surrogate court accept the will as valid, appoint the executor and supervise the administration of the assets and payment of the debts of the deceased.  In this process, the family of the deceased person marshals the assets, pays taxes, if any, resolves claims, and pays the remainder to the beneficiaries stated in the valid will.

Why Is This Important?
Probate gives order and process to the management of a deceased person’s affairs.  In New Jersey and New York, it is normally not a very involved, lengthy, or expensive process (notwithstanding extensive delays in New York as of this writing) and can produce a straightforward result.

Avoiding probate is usually more complex.  It involves more complicated estate planning before the person passes away, and can sometimes result in a probate anyway, if the assets aren’t correctly accounted for prior to death.  Some people place all of their assets in probate avoidance formats, such as beneficiary designations and deed language.  This can result in extra taxes and/or an estate without enough liquidity to pay its short term bills.  This can cause unnecessary hardship, well in excess of a simple probate.

Probate avoidance should be discussed with an experienced attorney.  Feel free to contact my office for further information.

Call us today to make an appointment at (201) 773-8914.

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