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Is probate something to avoid?

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2013 | Uncategorized

Ohio’s probate courts serve very important functions, dealing with matters like decedents’ estates, guardianships and adoptions. Normally, the question about “avoiding probate” comes up in the context of estate planning. But, probate is not a bad thing. In regard to decedents’ estates, probate can be very helpful. It involves a governmentally supervised set of procedures that incorporate many safeguards to help preserve and distribute assets of decedents. The probate procedure is orderly, relatively predictable and generally convenient. In situations where decedents die without close relatives, it can be very beneficial in making sure that appropriate persons are contacted, that persons receive their appropriate inheritances, that the decedent’s debts are appropriately paid, etc. Where probate arguably may not be necessary is in situations where a person is survived by a spouse and they don’t have particularly complex problems, or in situations in which there is not likely to be any sort of family dispute, etc. Everybody’s factual scenario is different from everyone else’s, but it is advantageous for some people to use tools that would allow them to transfer property upon a person’s death without having to go through a probate procedure. There are a number of tools available to do such transfers, and those include Transfer on Death Designation Affidavits relating to real estate, Payable on Death Accounts at financial institutions, Joint and Survivorship bank accounts, Survivorship real estate deeds, etc. But there is no one set of requirements that apply to every person’s situation, and the best recommendation we can give is that people who are concerned about estate planning matters discuss them with their attorneys.
Our office is available for consultations on estate planning and related issues.