Common Questions about Probate

You may have heard contradicting stories regarding probate that have left you feeling confused. It is always best to put your affairs in order to avoid probate after death. Let’s talk about some common questions regarding probate.


Probate Questions Answered


  • Will Probate Go On for Years in Court? Probate does not have to last for years. Many times, probate is resolved in court quickly. The circumstances where probate takes longer are when children are disputing over assets, the estate is uniquely large, or there is ongoing income.

  • Do Probate Costs Cancel Out Most Estate Assets? It can be expensive to hire a lawyer and go through probate court, but the probate fees often total less than 5% of the assets being discussed. Probate can skyrocket in cost if there is litigation involved over assets or if the state allows the attorney to take a percentage of the estate as their fee.

  • Is the Oldest Child Automatically the Executor of the Estate? If there is no executor named in the will, the surviving spouse is usually in charge of all the assets. And if there is no surviving spouse, it goes to the adult children. The court decides who will be the executor based on who wants to be and who is most responsible.

  • If Someone Dies Without a Will, Does the State Get Everything? No, the state does not get everything if there is no will present. The estate first goes to the surviving spouse, then surviving children. The only time the state gets everything is when no family members are found to claim the estate.

  • Do I Have to Leave Money to My Spouse? When writing up a will, you do not need to leave money to your spouse. Many couples in second marriages choose to leave all their assets to their children, especially if the spouse has their own assets.

There are many misconceptions when it comes to probate. The hope is that you gain the education you need to draw up a will and avoid probate. But also, if you need to enter into probate, do not be afraid. With the right probate attorney, there is nothing to worry about.


If you have questions regarding probate, Miles & Hatcher, LLP can assist. We can help you get your estate planning in order to avoid probate. You don’t want to leave your family members with extra stress when you pass away. Call today to plan a free consultation: (909) 481-4080.

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