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Just What is Probate Anyway?

Attorney Robert Franco

Robert Franco

Robert Franco has been practicing law for over a decade. He specializes in wills and trusts, as well as probate and estate administration. Robert grew up in the Pacific Northwest and now lives in Woodinville with his wife and three kids.

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Just What is Probate Anyway?

To some people, just saying the word “Probate” is too scary, like saying the V-word at Hogwarts. They come to me and whisper that they want to do whatever it takes to avoid “that thing,” and then they shiver. These are usually people from outside of Washington State. I am not licensed to practice in other states, but the process must be really bad if people are more scared of probate than they are of dying.

Before determining whether probate is something you want to avoid or not, you should first know what it is. Here are the most common questions people have about probate.

What is probate? Probate is the legal process of settling a person’s estate—their assets and debts—when they die.

Does a Will need to go through probate? Yes. Your assets (real estate, bank accounts, stocks, your special kombucha homebrewing equipment, etc.) will get distributed either by your last will and testament if you have one, or to your heirs according to the default state formula.

Does probate mean going to court? Yes. Probate involves going to court and asking a judge to begin the process of settling the debts and distributing the assets of the deceased.

What assets need to be probated? Basically, any asset that is in your name without a designated beneficiary will need to be distributed to your beneficiaries or heirs through probate.

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What assets don’t need to be probated? Anything you own with a designated beneficiary, such as a 401(k), IRA accounts, life insurance policies, and annuities will pass directly to the beneficiary. Real estate can pass outside of probate if owned with a right of survivorship or through a transfer on a death deed.

How does a trust avoid probate? Assets in a trust avoid probate because they are titled in the name of the trust, not the individual.

In most instances, bypassing the probate process allows clients to save the expense and time of going to court. It also avoids potential disputes among your beneficiaries if an asset is not named in your last will and testament.

Knowledgeable | Practical | Compassionate

At Eastside Estate Planning we focus exclusively on estate law and offer reasonable flat fees, depending on your individual needs. With 10 years of legal experience and an advanced tax degree, Robert is an expert at explaining complex estate planning concepts simply & advising his clients to make the best decision.

Interested in learning more about our services?

Visit our website for more information, or schedule a free consultation with Robert to receive a personalized quote.

Service Areas:

Eastside Estate Planning is dedicated to providing estate planning, last will, and trusts services to individuals and families in the following areas:

Bellevue | Redmond | Monroe | Duvall

If you reside in any of these locations and are in need of professional estate planning assistance, we are here to help. Robert is committed to delivering personalized and top-quality estate planning solutions to clients within these cities. Contact us today to discuss your estate planning needs and secure the future of your assets.

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425-272-1450 robert@eastsideestateplanning.com 8201 164th Ave NE STE 200, Redmond, WA 98052
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