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What is Probate?

Probate is the court process of administering an estate after the death of an individual. An estate is deemed everything a person owns, but in this context, it refers to either individually owned or trust owned property.  The Probate process is not merely limited to lawfully distributing assets.  It is also the platform to determine whether debts, liabilities, or claims should be paid. A Probate process can occur with or without an Estate Plan, but in each instance, every person should receive the proper guidance to assess whether the Probate process is advantageous, or whether it should be avoided.

A Trust by concept, is meant to avoid Probate and may still require court administration, if it is not properly funded. The probate process is costly and time-consuming.  The Probate process is usually 2-3 times the costs of administering a properly funded trust and always requires more than six months to completely administer.  Who pays the bill for Probate? Usually, those individuals named as beneficiaries as they will receive less from the estate because legal fees and costs are considered proper expenses of the Probate Estate. Lastly, the size and nature of the assets and liabilities that the deceased had at the end of their lives are on full display for the public (whether well-intentioned viewers or not).

Our offices can assist with drafting and implementing an Estate Plan designed to suit individual needs, with the goal of avoiding probate if that is your intention. If you are interested in creating or reviewing an estate plan, feel free to contact our offices in Naperville (630) 357-2333 or Indiana (219) 797-7820 for high quality professional estate planning services.

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