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Probate litigation: Is it avoidable?

When an Illinois resident dies, his or her will must be validated in probate court. However, if someone contests the will, it can lead to probate litigation, which can be a complex and stressful process. If an estate owner wishes to protect his or her loved ones from probate litigation, there are several things to keep in mind when executing an estate plan.

While it may seem like a logical assumption, signing a last will and testament is a first step toward helping family members and others avoid a legal battle when the time comes to settle an estate. Many people die without leaving a will, and this can lead to months or even, years of litigation. Because laws vary in every state, it is important for an estate owner in Illinois to seek clarification of laws in this state in order to ensure that his or her final wishes will be honored efficiently.

Establishing a living trust is another way to help loved ones avoid probate litigation. This is because any property held in trust is no longer part of the estate of the person initiating the trust. The designated trustee is tasked with distributing the property according to the terms of the trust.

To avoid probate litigation, an estate owner can also make accounts payable upon death. This helps loved ones avoid probate because the monies in designated accounts would go directly to the listed beneficiaries when the estate owner dies. Anyone with questions or concerns regarding estate planning or probate may consult with an experienced attorney for support. The attorney clarify state laws and make recommendations about executing a solid estate plan, and can remain on hand to periodically review the plan and make adjustments or updates as needed.

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