Many people share a common belief that probate should be avoided at all costs, so instead of hiring anattorney to come up with an estate plan they devise their own schemes. For example, most people know that if two people are on a real estate deed as joint tenants, when one person passes away the entire property automatically passes to the surviving joint tenant. As a result of this knowledge, some people will make the mistake of adding their children as joint tenants in their home.
Adding children to to your property as joint tenants might work out in some cases. However, what might happen if your children have debts they cannot pay? You might find yourself involved in costly litigation to keep your children’s creditors from making a claim against your home. This litigation could be a lot more time-consuming and costly than probate. If your children owe money to a government agency, it’s almost guaranteed to be more expensive than probate.
Experienced estate planning attorneys have many methods of ensuring that your property passes to the people you want it to. Sometimes, those methods will include probate as a necessity. However, an attorney can and will plan your estate and draft the appropriate documents in a way that makes the probate process as painless for your heirs as possible. Probate only needs to be scary if you don’t have an experienced estate attorney working for you.