Everyone wants to leave support behind for their loved ones once they pass, but the probate process is fairly complex. Let’s take a look at the process and how it works.

What is probate?
Probate is a legal process that finalizes the last of an individual’s legal and financial affairs after their passing. During this process, the property is identified, logged, and given appraisal. It also finalizes any outstanding debts and taxes that were left to be paid. If a person died with a valid will, those directives are followed by the court. If a person died without a will, then the probate court distributes the estate according to state law.

Probate Process
The probate process starts upon the death of an individual. The process can take months to well over a year, and in cases of contention with a will, may take even longer. It is an expensive process, sometimes eating 5% of the estate’s value before any taxes, debts, or other expenses have been paid. The probate process takes place in a public court and is kept on public record. Without any privacy, anyone can find out what was left behind, and even what was passed on to heirs. These records may be reviewed to help protect a deceased individual’s estate. Taking steps to manage the probate process can grant additional privacy to heirs.

Property That Avoids Probate
Some of your assets may not have to go through probate, depending on how they have been structured. Although not a complete list, what follows are some examples of assets that will avoid the probate.


  • Any property in a trust
  • Jointly held property
  • Insurance policies due upon death
  • Property given away before death
  • Assets in a pay-on-death account
  • Retirement accounts that have a named beneficiary

Avoid Unnecessary Probate Issues

To avoid unnecessary probate issues and control how your estate is distributed, contact FSG for sound guidance. We are here to help protect your estate.