What Is Probate, and Who Has to Deal With It?

The probate process can be a long and expensive journey for heirs. Real estate, cars and even art often trigger probate, but other assets get a free pass.

A gavel comes down on a block that says probate.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Managing and securing your estate is one of the most important steps in personal finance. An estate plan ensures your assets get distributed according to your wishes. In addition to mitigating confusion and hardship for your loved ones, it also limits the court’s control over your assets in probate.

What is probate?

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.

To continue reading this article
please register for free

This is different from signing in to your print subscription

Why am I seeing this? Find out more here

Patrick M. Simasko, J.D.
Partner, Simasko Law

Patrick M. Simasko is an elder law attorney and financial adviser at Simasko Law and Simasko Financial, specializing in elder law and wealth preservation. He’s also an Elder Law Professor at Michigan State University School of Law. His self-effacing character, style and ability have garnered him prominence and recognition throughout the metro Detroit area as well as the entire state.