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DOWNLOAD DOC (1 page) What Is Probate?
Avoiding Probate
What Is Probate?

Probate is the process by which legal title
of property is transferred from the
decedent's estate to his/her beneficiaries. Since you can't take it with you, the court determines who gets it.

If a person dies with a Will ("testate"), the probate court determines if the
Will is valid, hears any objections to the Will, orders that creditors be paid and supervises the process to assure that property remaining is distributed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Will.

If a person dies without a Will ("intestate"), the probate court appoints a person to receive all claims against the estate, pay creditors and then distribute all
remaining property in accordance with the laws of the state.

The major difference between dying testate and dying intestate is that an intestate estate is distributed to beneficiaries in accordance with the distribution plan established by state law; a testate estate (after payment of debts, taxes and costs of administration) is distributed in accordance with the instructions provided by the
decedent in his/her Will.

The cost of probate is either set by state
law or by practice and custom in your
community. The typical cost to probate an estate is in the range of 3% to 7% of the total estate value.
NOLO.Law Resources

Avoiding Probate FAQ
Here are the most popular ways to avoid probate.

Probate FAQ
You may have heard that you should avoid probate, but you may not
even be sure what probate is. Here are the basics.
Probate and Executors - Legal Information  -When a person dies, some-one must step in to wind up the deceased person's affairs. Bills must be paid, property must be accounted for, and items must.....
NOLO.Law Resources continued
An introduction to the most popular ways to avoid probate on the following topics:
  • Payable-on-Death Bank Accounts
  • Retirement Accounts
  • Transfer-on-Death Registration of Securities
  • Transfer-on-Death Registration for Vehicles
  • Joint Ownership
  • Joint Tenancy With Right of Survivorship
  • In Texas, you need a separate written agreement
  • Tenancy by the Entirety
  • Community Property
  • Community Property States
  • What Is Community Property?
  • Revocable Living Trusts
  • Gifts
  • Claiming property with affidavits -- no court required.
They're all the rage. But how many people know that Roth IRAs are also a great way to leave money to your heirs without probate?
A handful of reasons why you should do what you can to avoid the probate process.


8 Ways to Avoid Probate
Easy steps to keep your family out of probate court, saving them time, money and stress.  Sale Price: $16.95
How to Probate an Estate in California  -Covers the California probate gamut, from deciphering a will to tackling taxes. Sale Price: $39.95
Quicken  Lawyer Software
This popular interactive soft-ware lets you plan your estate, step by step. Write a will, living trust, financial power of attorney, final arrangements document and authorizations and agreements. Sale Price:
Amazon$45.95 Nolo Press; Windows 95 / 98 / Me / 2000 / XP
Quicken Lawyer 2002 Personal Deluxe 
Amazon$39.99 Nolo Press; Windows 95 / 98 / NT / 2000 / Me / XP

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