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What is probate?

Is probate a place I go after die? No! Probate court is a place where your heirs go after you die to administer your affairs if you do not have a properly funded trust agreement, or if you only have a living will or do not have a will at all.

Probate court also has jurisdiction over guardianship, conservator and mental health matters.  For example, if you have minor children and you and your spouse pass away, the Probate court must appoint a guardian for the deceased’s children. The guardian will be appointed by the probate court judge and will likely have legal and physical custody over some or all of the minor children. Having appointed representatives in your living will allows the probate court to make an informed decision as to who should be guardian of your children based on your preferences in succession planning.

Look for part 2 on Understanding Probate: “To will or not to will”

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