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Alternatives to probate

The death of a loved one can be an emotional time. Many people going through the estate planning process in Washington know about probate. Probate is the court process that supervises the transfer of money and property, identification of heirs and payment of debts when someone dies. Probate can be a significant cost for an estate and there are ways, through careful planning, that probate can be avoided or significantly reduced.

A formal probate can be avoided or reduced in a number of different ways depending on the estate's size and situation. Although the laws vary from state to state, depending on the value of the estate, the estate may not need to go through probate. Life insurance proceeds also do not go through probate if they have a clear beneficiary designation. Assets that are held in a trust do not go through probate.

A legal professional who is skilled in estate planning can help families with their individual needs. All estates are different but large or small they can all benefit from a thorough estate plan. Probate can be costly and take a long time, so planning ahead to minimize the time spent in probate can help families. Estate planning attorneys can draft wills and trusts that help with the distribution of assets to make sure the estate owner's wishes are followed and that estate probate is minimized.

Estate planning is something that every family should consider as part of their family plan. No one wants to think about their death, but a well-planned estate will allow a person to know that their wishes are carried out upon their death. There are many aspects to an estate plan that can be complicated and many individuals believe avoiding probate is a good estate planning option.

Source: FindLaw, "Avoiding probate FAQs", accessed on Sept. 16, 2014

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To speak with an attorney at Gellner Law Group about estate planning, probate, trusts, wills or tax controversy, contact our law office in Kent, Washington, today. You can call 425-336-2908 or send us an email. We provide representation across the entire Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area.

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