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I've heard and read so many people talk about how important it is to have a trust so you can avoid probate. Can somebody explain what's the big deal about probate?

Definition: the action or process of proving before a competent judicial authority that a document offered for official recognition and registration as the last will and testament of a deceased person is genuine b : the judicial determination of the validity of a will

The way I understand it is that you can't avoid probate court, but a will can make probate painless and fast. If there is no will, then the probate court has to decide who gets what. If there is a will, then the probate court is more of a formality to verify that the will is legal and that noone is protesting the will.

To my knowledge, probate court has nothing to do with closing accounts, death certificates or taxes (tho I could be wrong) - it is just the legality of verifying a will or overseeing the estate if there is no will.

You might want to cross-reference your post at the "Death and Grieving" board ( - there appears to be more people following there...


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