A will doesn't prevent your assets from passing through probate. Before we explain why, it is important to note that we are not trying to dissuade you from creating a will. They are precious estate planning tools. The attorneys at Hamilton Law draft wills for our clients, and we wouldn't do so if we didn't believe in their effectiveness.
You will discover that each estate planning tool (e.g., wills, trusts) has benefits and drawbacks. When you meet with an attorney, they will explain the pros and cons. They will also select the document that protects you and fits your needs. For example, if your wish is to avoid probate, then a will may not be the right choice for you.
Wills & Probate
A court oversees probate proceedings, and their purpose is to pass a deceased's person's assets to the beneficiaries. When someone passes away without a will (or if they haven't done any estate planning), they have died intestate. The state's intestate laws dictate who is entitled to receive the assets. If the deceased had created a valid will, the will determines who gets the assets, property, etc.
Though there is no hard rule for how long the probate process will take, it is safe to assume that an average estate (one that is not tied up in disputes and litigation) could take seven months to a year. During that time, a court appoints an executor. They will be in charge of getting appraisals, overseeing the payment of any debts left behind by the deceased, and eventually distributing the assets according to the instructions in the will.
In addition to being lengthy and expensive, probate is also public. The executor will even publish notices to creditors so that the creditors can make claims on the estate.
Though there are several kinds of trusts, it is important to note that they will avoid the probate process. Ultimately, probate oversees the distribution of assets from the deceased to the beneficiaries. But when a person places their assets into a trust, they no longer own them; the trust does. Hypothetically, if everything you owned was put into a trust, there are no assets to pass through probate.
At Hamilton Law, we craft estate plans based on what you want them to accomplish. Each document is chosen in accordance with your goals, and we will explain each one to you throughout your estate-planning process. Contact Hamilton Law to schedule your free consultation for more information about estate plans, trusts, and wills.