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Is probate necessary?

In some states, small estates can avoid probate (check your jurisdiction for the definition of a small estate). Otherwise, probate is necessary to determine that a will meets all the applicable legal requirements and to provide all interested parties with an opportunity to be heard. Probate also ensures that the decedent’s property ends up in the right hands and that all just debts (and taxes, of course) are paid.

Most states allow a certain amount of property to bypass probate or get processed through a simplified procedure. This includes a designated monetary amount as well as property left to a surviving spouse.

In addition, property that passes outside of your will is not subject to probate. These include joint survivorship accounts, trusts, life insurance proceeds payable to a designated beneficiary and similar instruments.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.