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5 reasons to avoid probate and what to do instead

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2024 | Estate Planning, Probate, Trust & Estate Administration, Trust And Probate Estate Litigation |

Probate is the legal process that happens after a person passes away. A court of law oversees the distribution of that person’s assets after they die.

While there is a place for probate in society and certainly a need for it in certain circumstances, many clients who have assets and the ability to think ahead choose to avoid probate altogether.

Why avoid probate?

Our clients who avoid probate usually do so for one, several or all of the reasons below.


Probate is a costly process from a financial standpoint. Between court fees, attorney fees and executor fees, the bills pile up quickly, which means less money for the beneficiaries.

If the person who died leaves money for their kids, for example, the court, the attorney and the executor get paid before the kids get anything.


The process of probate can take a long time from start to finish. It can last months or years. During that time, the beneficiaries do not have access to any of the assets because the estate has not been settled. They have to wait until the very end to receive their part.


The process of probate is public, meaning that anyone can access court records and learn about your assets and debts. If a person values confidentiality and privacy, they may want to avoid probate.


Because the process of probate is rooted in the law, it is complex and can be confusing, especially for those who are not familiar with legal proceedings.

Executors and beneficiaries may find it difficult to navigate the court system with its procedures, deadlines and requirements.

By using estate planning tools as an alternative, you can simplify the distribution of your assets and avoid the complications that come with going through the court system.


When you are going through probate to settle someone’s estate, the court is in control. They may designate an executor, if the person did not choose one, but ultimately the court makes the final decisions.

If you choose to avoid probate, you are in control of your assets, who they go to, how and when. Instead of relying only on a will, which the court has to ensure is valid, and subjecting your estate to a lengthy and complicated process, you can choose alternatives to probate.

What other options do I have?

There are many better options you have if you choose to avoid probate. First, it is important that you have an attorney who works in estate planning because they understand what the law requires. Options that do not require you to go through probate include:

  • Revocable living trusts
  • Beneficiary designations
  • Joint ownership of assets

All these options are choices you can and should make ahead of time and update as you wish, if your life circumstances change. Keeping your estate plan up-to-date is another critical component.

Estate planning is a broad term and you have many options when it comes to deciding what to do with your things after you pass. Many of our clients choose to establish a relationship with our firm early and many of them choose to avoid probate at all costs because of its disadvantages.