Come on! Look at the Bright Side! Every cloud has a silver lining. Try looking at the glass as half full instead of half empty. Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. Choose to be optimistic, it feels better. For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use to be anything else. Live a good life so that later when you reflect upon it you can enjoy it twice.
You don’t have to avoid probate! … But not according to Suze Ormon! She rants that people should “avoid probate”, get a trust, etc…. and that may or may not be true depending on each unique person’s situation. It may be true that avoiding probate is a good thing, but if you do or don’t avoid probate, only avoid probate if it makes sense, practically and financially. In other words, probate can be OK and the reasonable thing to do sometimes. Other times probate is unavoidable, for example, when a grandchild, wants to sell the grandparents’ house but the grandparents are long gone and the grandchild has been living there since they have passed. This is a classic probate situation where probate (of the grandparents’ estates) is necessary regardless of if they had a will or not.
The probate of a person’s estate gives the surviving family final resolution of ownership of the decedent’s property. That probate finality helps the family move on from the death of the relative. That finality also assures the proper beneficiary or “gift recipient” of the decedent’s property – like land, money, business, jewelry, etc. – receives that property free of creditors or fraudsters or false claimants like disinherited family members. The probate process allows the deceased to give their estate property to the living in a way that protects that property from financial predators.
From every bad thing, good things may resultantly occur, I believe, based upon the way one handles things and what a person learns or takes from it. It is only through death that a legacy may occur to benefit the living. It is true that when you are dealing with probate, you are dealing with the death of someone that has a relation to you. Generally, people don’t like to mess around with death too much while they are living, so the better way to look at probate is to look at the brighter side of it and “get it done” at a reasonable speed with high professionalism – which is the standard at our law firm. We really specialize at helping the surviving family focus on the brighter side when dealing with probate and getting it done.
For better or for worse when it comes to probating an estate, the probate process will bring out the best and the worst in relatives. During probate, issues of greed, charity and family relationships will be present, explored, and sometimes challenged, and when the dust settles after all probate issues are resolved, family members will know where their relatives stand regarding their opinion and the status of the estate. Is that good or bad? I don’t know. It depends on each individual family’s probate situation.
A person doesn’t really know their probate situation because probate can only occur after a person’s death. It’s the ‘probate attorney’ or ‘trusts and estates attorney’ that can best evaluate if you could or should avoid probate and if that even makes sense. Suze Ormon says you should avoid probate because she has a revocable living trust (RLT) that she wants to sell you! And guess what? According to her website, they work for everyone. Suze Orman’s answer is “buy my trust kit so you, like everyone, can avoid probate.” I say DON’T buy it. If you don’t, then I just saved you a lot of money that could be used for a legal professional that knows you and cares about your issues first. The brighter side of this question of whether a person should or should not avoid probate, is the reader’s hopeful realization that a licensed attorney specializing in probate issues and estate planning would best answer this question. Not Suze! After all, a stitch in time saves nine.