Not everybody needs an estate plan, but the question is, will your estate go through probate? If it’s going to go through probate, we need to control it with a will document.

Your Options

Wills control the probate process. It’s a court document. Never forget, wills are expensive. You may also find a way to skip it altogether for a revocable trust searchable with this. I’ve talked about that beforehand, and I’ll talk about them again. But some estates don’t even need that.

Probate Or No Probate

Here are the reasons to go through probate: real estate, too much stuff, disputes, or little kids. For example, this client rented his house, he leased his car, and he had hundreds of thousands of dollars, but he had two adult children, and they were doing well. And he could just list them as pay on death beneficiaries of these accounts. So he’s not going to go through probate. He might still want to do a will, health care directive power of attorney never forget about the incapacity stuff, we don’t want to forget about that. If I’m unable to make decisions for myself, we got to make sure that someone can make decisions for me. But as far as controlling those assets, he may want to have a backup will, but he’s probably not going to need much there.

Private Agreements

Private agreements control those pan death beneficiaries, and private agreements don’t need to go to court. They’re good in very straightforward gifts at death to kids. They got to be adults. They got to be in good financial shape; you don’t want to give this money. It’s just going to them; they’re just getting it; they get full control. They can totally do great things, or they can screw it up. But they got to be in good financial shape with good heads on their shoulders. You got to trust their spouses, they got to be alive and well, if something happens, and you don’t update that, and it goes to minors now we got some problems. It’s not very robust, but you sometimes don’t even need probate for particularly easy estates. If you don’t need probate, you don’t need a document to control it or skip it.