How To Avoid Probate Forever

If you are going through the probate process, do you find yourself wishing there could be an easier way to deal with the belongings of someone who has passed away? For some personal representatives, the probate process is more than inconvenient – it is a drawn-out nightmare that disrupts their lives. You may not want to impose this same experience someday on the people you care about.

It turns out that there IS an easier way. It’s called a living trust. You might want to consider this option as you plan your legacy. Many people think that simply writing a last will and testament creates a plan. This is not completely true: the will just communicates the decedent’s wishes to the court, which is ultimately responsible for distributing the property.

Here is a comparison of three options available to all of us when we die:

Probate Forever
  • Dying without a will or trust. This is called dying intestate. With just a few exceptions, probate is required. In this situation, the government exercises maximum control over the settling of an estate. The court decides who gets what and can be very demanding. The process can take a very long time.
  • Dying with a will. This is called dying testate. Probate is required. In this situation, the government verifies the will and at least supervises its execution. In Texas, an attorney will be involved in dealing with the court, and there will be substantial legal fees.
  • Dying with a living trust. If all assets have been transferred to the trust, the government does not need to get involved. No judge is making decisions, because the decisions have already been made. There is a true plan, and a trustee simply executes that plan. This process usually goes quite quickly.

Putting a living trust in place is much less expensive than the legal fees involved in probate.

When the grantor passes away, the process is also much faster and more efficient. People are less likely to fight over the decisions because there is less gray area to fight about. While you are still alive, the trust offers a level of protection against people who might want to sue you for spurious reasons.

My wife and I have personally gone through the process of setting up a living trust. There are other things that you might want to consider for the end of your life. For example, who will make decisions on your behalf if you ever lose that ability yourself? If you ever find yourself on indefinite life support, who will make the decision whether to continue to keep you there? As you can imagine, leaving decisions like these up to chance could lead to tragic consequences for you or create rifts in your family.

I know outstanding attorneys that specialize in the creation of living trusts and planning for your future. Feel free to reach out to me to learn more.