The common wisdom correctly identifies probate as an expense that might best be
avoided. If the decedent makes a conscientious effort during his or her lifetime, the decedent
may arrange his or her assets in such a manner as probate may be avoided. This may be
effected by either not having a large estate, without real estate, or by having assets that pass
to successors by operation of law.
Click here to see examples of assets that pass by operation of law.
Despite your best efforts, you might still end up with a probate. Therefore you may end up
paying the expenses during your lifetime to arrange your affairs to avoid probate while also
having your estate pay the expenses of probate.
It may or may not be true that a probate is more expensive than taking measures to avoid
Probate is a public record, and your affairs as of your death may or may not be made
public. This is especially relevant today as court records are showing up on the internet. You or
your family may wish to avoid probate to preserve privacy.
If you end up having assets in more than one state, you might end up having to have two
It may seem that we are advocating probate, since we find few negatives. We do not
advocate either having a probate or avoiding a probate. We do advocate making an educated
and informed decision.
Reasons to not probate an estate:
1. The decedent left little of substantial value;
2. The decedent’s probate estate is less than $100,000, so that such property may be
transferred via a Small Estate Affidavit;
3. The decedent left little personal property, no claims against the estate, all adult,
agreeable, and competent heirs, and a home which could remain unsold for at least three
years—title can therefore be passed by deed from the heirs and their spouses and an affidavit
in proper form as the these facts;
4. Decedent left a personal residence, and little more—a title company may insure over
without probate if satisfied regarding heirship and payment of claims;
5. The heirs of an intestate estate agree to settle the estate without probate, and the
requirements of such an agreement are met; and
6. The interested parties can use a bond in lieu of probate.