What is Probate?

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One of the most common questions I receive regarding probate is, “what is probate”. Watch this educational video by dedicated Buffalo Estate Planning Lawyer Thomas F. Hewner for guidance on the probate process. Do you or a loved one have a will that is in probate? Contact our dedicated estate planning attorneys for a consultation. Let our experience work for you. 

  • Probate is used by the court to determine the validity of a will, and it causes people excess concern because of its reputation for causing difficulties. In reality, a well-adjusted, friendly family, can probate a will in six days to two weeks, depending on the queue at circuit court.
  • If, on the other hand, there is a lot of animosity, your will leaves people out, or people are concerned that the person you named will not be fair, it can be problematic.
  • People use a variety of techniques to avoid probate, including such things as revocable trusts in which, rather than keep their assets in their own name, they enter into trust agreements. They are the trustee and the beneficiary of the trust while they live. They appoint another trustee – perhaps one of their children – to take over upon their death and distribute the trust’s assets.
  • A trust can be challenged, but it’s harder because it doesn’t go before a court. In places where it’s very difficult to work through the court – such as in big cities – these trusts are used for fundamentally different reasons, such as because of conflict.
  • Revocable trusts are also used when one owns assets in another state and wants to avoid ancillary proceedings.

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