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?

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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.