Do you have an estate plan in place? If not, when you die, your estate may be headed for probate. Probate can be a long and costly process for your heirs. The good news may be that there are ways you can minimize the hassle of probate or even avoid it altogether. All it can take is some careful estate planning.

A common way to avoid probate may be to include a revocable trust in your estate plan. Once you put your assets into the trust, you can continue accessing and managing them, but when you pass away, control over the trust automatically transfers to whomever you name as the successor trustee. This means that person obtains immediate control over the assets and he or she does not have to go through probate or be submitted to approval by anyone else. 

Your successor trustee can distribute trust assets in the manner you decided and wrote into the trust documents before you died. Unfortunately, assets not held in a trust may have to go through probate. Even if you have a last will and testament dictating who your assets should be distributed to, your personal representative will have to go through probate before distributing them according to your instructions. 

If you do not have an estate plan, your estate may be headed for probate court. To learn more about estate planning to minimize or avoid probate, our office can guide you through your estate planning options. Please contact our office today to schedule a meeting with attorney Alan Hougum.