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Why Do People Talk About Avoiding Probate?

  • By: Starr Law Offices
  • Published: January 26, 2017


In this video blog, you’ll get the answer to this frequently asked question: Why do people talk about avoiding probate?

Hi, my name is Ted Starr. I’m an attorney in Pinellas Park, Florida and I’m here to answer some questions. The question is: Why do people talk about avoiding probate?

Well, what they’re really discussing is avoiding probate expense. They’re trying to avoid the need to pay to transfer assets after someone dies. Probate is the process where wills are filed in court and objections may be launched against the will, creditors’ claims are filed, and heirs are notified of the process of an estate — which really means the probate estate where the person’s assets are going to be used to pay creditors and then used to pay heirs.

Sometimes people think that process is expensive. Sometimes they think it’s unduly burdensome, or it takes too long and so they want to avoid probate. Well, one of the easiest ways to avoid probate before you die is to give away everything that you own. However, most people don’t want to do that. Probate is the process of giving away your assets after you no longer need them. Typically your will directs that by describing who gets what asset and how they’re going to be handled after you pass away.

So the probate process is trying to make an orderly transfer of those assets. When people talk about avoiding probate, quite frankly, I think they don’t like the idea of probate because it means they are going to die. They talk about avoiding probate because they are really trying to avoid dying. They use the word “probate” as a substitute for “death”. That’s what I generally see when I see people trying to avoid probate. Sometimes I’ve had people very happy with the outcome of a probate case because either creditors were controlled or assets were recovered. I’ve seen people very happy with the results of a probate case. A probate case can actually be a good thing for people.

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