The Difference Between Living Probate and Death Probate?

Becky Cholewka:  People often hear the word probate, and it’s kind of a scary thing for a lot of families to go through. What probate really means is, it’s a court process when the court needs to get involved with distributing assets when you die. That’s what we call death probate.

There’s also something called living probate. Living probate is when we have to go to the court for guardianship or conservatorship actions, which is where the court needs to legally appoint someone to have the authority to make medical decisions for you, or to handle your financial affairs.

When you have an estate plan in place, however, especially a revocable trust plan in place, we could potentially avoid the probate court, no matter if it’s death probate or living probate.

Since here in Arizona probate costs, generally, from about two to five thousand dollars for a very basic probate process, and lasts an average of 9 to 18 months for most families ‑‑ it can be longer ‑‑ and most families who go through that process, it’s very emotionally time‑consuming and exhausting for them as well.

Again, avoiding probate is a goal most of my clients have. We can easily do that on the front end, with really great comprehensive estate planning documents.

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