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Not trying to sidestep probate may be estate planning error

Probate can be a big pain -- not to mention costly -- so not trying to avoid it might be a mistake. Arkansas residents involved in estate planning may already know that assets that go to beneficiaries usually have to pass through the probate process. And to complicate matters, the estates of those who own properties in more than one state may have to go through the process in those states as well.

And when it comes to privacy, probate is a pretty transparent. The process is public, so anyone can obtain court records regarding probate proceedings. They would divulge things like estate worth, what was owned and how it was divided. There are some assets that do avoid probate by virtue of what they are: retirement accounts,  annuities, life insurance and property that's owned jointly.

By establishing a trust, other assets may avoid probate. A revocable living trust may just be the best way for assets to avoid the probate process. So probate is not an all or nothing process, and it isn't entirely bad in some cases, especially when that transparency and public record might hold some people accountable.

By discussing the probate process with an attorney who is experienced in estate planning, Arkansas residents may get a better handle on how probate may affect them personally. A lawyer may be able to offer advice on additional ways to avoid the process. An attorney may be able to better explain estate planning laws and how they can help his or her client's unique situations.

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