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What are some of the ways that probate can be avoided?

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Quick Answer

Some of the ways by which probate court litigation can be avoided are: setting up a trust, gifting assets, proper estate planning and choosing a competent and trustworthy individual to act as the executor of the estate. Although drafting a will is often considered to be a proactive measure to avoid probate, wills may be contested, especially if one or more members of a family feel they are being treated unfairly. An executor lacking the necessary interpersonal skills to deal with quarreling family members may not be able to prevent a will from being contested.

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Full Answer

Setting up a contractual arrangement in which certain assets or properties are transferred to another party, such as in a POD, or "payable upon death" arrangement can help ensure that those assets are kept clear of probate litigation. Property and financial accounts held in an arrangement known as "joint ownership with right of survivorship" will also pass automatically to the surviving partner upon the death of the other.

As a means of avoiding probate, assets can be placed into an irrevocable or revocable trust which will enable them to be transferred privately without intervention by the courts. Trusts may carry additional costs in administration and set-up, but the expense can also be significantly less than the costs that can result from a contested will or from poor estate planning.

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