For some people, probating an estate can be a waste of time and money. Probating an estate means you died owning property that didn’t automatically pass to someone on your death. It means that you have to file a bunch of paperwork, pay filing fees, legal fees and publication fees to prove the Will and/or heirs and beneficiaries to properly pass your assets to those that are entitled to them under your Will or by law. Some people don’t realize that there is nothing to probate if all your assets are jointly held, in Trust or otherwise have beneficiaries. Sometimes, a Will is merely your backup plan. It is imperative to look at every asset you have and ask what will happen to that asset upon your death. If you have a joint owner, unless it is an account of convenience, the assets automatically pass to the joint owner. If you have an IRA, the beneficiaries automatically inherit the IRA. You can also designate who should receive certain accounts upon your death. For some people, the best estate when you die, is having no “estate” per se.
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