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Does estate administration have to include probate?

When making plans for the future, many Illinois residents attempt to avoid contemplating their own death. When they are able to overcome their reticence about estate planning, it may be a good idea to focus on avoiding probate. Estate administration does not necessarily have to involve probate.

The fact is that probate takes time. While the estate is administered through the court, loved ones of the deceased will not have access to the assets intended for their inheritances. In some cases, this could prevent family members from having the resources they need.

It may make more sense to ensure that at least a majority of assets do not have to go through probate. Using beneficiary designations, trusts and pay-on-death accounts could provide near immediate access to necessary resources for surviving loved ones. Some assets could be titled in such a way that a family member receives full ownership of them without probate as well.

There would still be some housekeeping issues to take care of, but the time it takes to complete those tasks would be significantly reduced if the assets do not go through probate. For those assets that do have to go through the probate process, if any, it may be possible to reduce the time and money required to complete the process. Probate does have its advantages, but whether it works for a particular individual depends on his or her circumstances and the needs of those family members left behind. Illinois residents struggling with how to deal with planning for their estate administration may benefit from discussing it with an estate-planning attorney.

Source: Forbes, "7 Big Estate Planning Mistakes -- Not Avoiding Probate", Bob Carlson, Feb. 26, 2018

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