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What is probate?

You have probably heard people talk about probate before in Missouri. People often moan and groan about it. Probate is not a bad thing. In fact, the whole idea behind it is to protect you and your estate when you die. So, it is not something horrible, but it can take a while to complete. In the process, MoneyCrashers explains, your estate is held up and untouchable by your heirs, which could be a problem.

Probate is when the court steps in to finalize your legal and financial matters. The court will follow your estate plan but ensure everything is managed fairly and properly. It will also distribute your assets according to your wishes. If you do not have a will, then the court distributes your assets based on the law, which may not match what you or your heirs want.

Probate can be quick and easy or it can be long and complex. It really depends on the state of your affairs and any issues your heirs may bring up during the process. It also is not a free process. Your estate will pay fees. It also is a matter of public record, which you may not like.

You can make probate easier or avoid it completely by planning ahead. If you can make all your assets transferable upon your death, then the court will have no reason to step in. You should also make a will and make sure your wishes are clear to make things easier on the court and to avoid anyone contesting it. You also want to keep your estate small. The smaller it is, the easier it goes through probate. This information is for education and is not legal advice.