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If someone challenges your estate, it will go through probate

One of the many reasons that people create comprehensive estate plans is to minimize the risk of their estate winding up in probate court. Probate court can prevent your heirs from accessing the assets you leave behind for many months. It can also be an expensive process that diminishes how much your family receives. It can cause conflict among your loved ones and family members to boot.

Creating an estate plan that includes a thorough last will is one way to reduce the risk of your estate winding up in probate. However, even if you have a valid last will and a thorough plan, probate could still be an issue for your estate administrator.

All it takes is one family member contesting your will to put the entire estate plan and last will under the authority of probate courts. You can take steps now to hopefully reduce the risk of that happening in the future.

Talk to your family about your wishes to reduce the risk of challenges

Disappointment and surprise often lead to challenges of estate plans. If the people in your family are shocked and unhappy with the contents of your plan, they are more likely to go to court. Making sure that everyone understands your wishes and your reasoning can reduce the risk of someone bringing a challenge to your estate after you pass on.

These conversations may be difficult to have, especially if you have chosen to disinherit someone or leave certain family members significantly more or less than others. While it may be hard to do, it is definitely worthwhile to discuss your intentions and plans with family members. It can reduce anger and shock about the contents, and also help provide your executor with support from others who knew and understood your wishes.

Provided that everyone understands your wishes, addressing your plans with your family now can reduce the risk of probate undermining your wishes in the future.

Consider the potential of probate when you name an administrator or executor

Choosing the executor to your estate is a complex process. You need to select somebody who will likely outlive you in whom you also have implicit trust. That person also has to accept the responsibility.

The individual you select needs to be competent enough to handle complex tasks and assertive enough to take action and handle issues as they arise. Someone who may be perfect for handling the details of the estate may not have the emotional fortitude to aggressively litigate on behalf of your last wishes in probate court.

While you want to do everything in your power to limit the potential of your estate going through probate, you should also consider that possibility before you choose your executor.

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The Law Office of Araceli Tovar, APC

251 Madrona St.
Chula Vista, CA 91910

Phone: 619-869-4200
Fax: 619-869-4202
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