The myth of “avoiding probate”

When you and other Detroit residents are taking care of your estate planning, you may consider the best ways you might help your family members avoid disputes over who receives your heirlooms and other property. At the Bingham Legal Group PC, we have often heard clients ask how they can help their loved ones avoid probate. While it is understandable that you want to preserve family harmony, it is important to distinguish the differences between the normal probate process and an estate dispute.

According to the American Bar Association, probate is the legal process that occurs after someone dies and leaves behind assets. Whether you wrote a will, created a trust or died intestate (without any type of estate planning), probate court will be involved to some degree. If you left a detailed will or trust, most likely the probate process will only be needed to recognize the validity of the will and appoint an executor to distribute the assets to those you have designated. Therefore, you can see how the probate process is normally involved when everything goes smoothly.

On the other hand, a probate dispute may occur if your family members disagree over what they should receive or if there is confusion over the terms of your will. This is the type of scenario most people are talking about when they say they wish to “avoid probate.” By investing your time and effort into solid estate planning, you may help the beneficiaries of your estate avoid a lengthy and costly probate dispute. You may learn more about estate distribution matters by visiting our page on probate and trust administration.