Probate/Trust Administration & Litigation

Probate Demystified: What to Expect When Settling an Estate

The Probate Process Demystified: What to Expect When Settling an Estate

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult enough without the added stress of navigating the complex probate process. At Lihn Law Group, we’re here to demystify this process and guide you through what to expect. This blog explains why probate is necessary, its pros and cons, and strategies to avoid it through proper estate planning.

Understanding Probate

Probate is the legal procedure for settling a deceased person’s estate, which includes validating the will, paying debts, and distributing assets. Legally, the process is also important as it provides the legal authority to gain access to an estate and begin administration. This process is overseen by a probate court to ensure everything is conducted legally and fairly.

The Necessity of Probate

This process is essential for several reasons:

  • Will Validation: Confirm the will’s validity and ensure it reflects the deceased’s wishes.
  • Debt Settlement: Allow creditors to be paid from the estate before assets are distributed.
  • Legal Transfer of Assets: Ensure a legal and orderly transfer of assets to beneficiaries.

Pros and Cons of Probate


  • Legal Oversight: Provides checks and balances when administering the estate correctly.
  • Clear Title Transfer: Facilitate the legal transfer of property titles to beneficiaries.
  • Debt Management: Settle all debts before asset distribution.


  • Time-Consuming: This can be a lengthy process, taking months or even years.
  • Costly: Court fees and attorney fees can significantly reduce the estate’s value.
  • Public Record: The proceedings are public, which can compromise privacy.

Why Consider Avoiding Probate?

  • Privacy Protection: Keeps estate matters confidential.
  • Cost Reduction: Saves on administration expenses.
  • Expedited Process: Allows quicker distribution of assets to beneficiaries.

Methods to Avoid Probate

  • Living Trusts: Transferring assets into a living trust allows them to bypass this process.
  • Joint Ownership: Property owned jointly with rights of survivorship automatically passes to the surviving owner.
  • Beneficiary Designations: Designating beneficiaries on accounts such as life insurance and retirement plans avoids probate.
  • Transfer-on-Death (TOD) Designations: Naming beneficiaries on securities, vehicles, and real estate can avoid probate.

How Lihn Law Group Can Help

Probate can be a complex and time-consuming process, but understanding it and planning ahead can make a significant difference. Whether you need assistance or want to plan ahead to avoid probate, Lihn Law Group is here to guide you. Our firm created a customized three-phase roadmap for clients to understand the process and each step along the way. Our experienced estate planning attorneys can help create a comprehensive plan addressing strategies for avoidance and to ensure a smooth transfer of your assets to your beneficiaries.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you with your estate planning and probate needs. We are committed to providing expert legal advice and support to help you navigate the complexities and ensure your wishes are honored.

Learn more on our site or feel free to contact Lihn Law Group for expert guidance and support at (602) 887-5031 or send us a message!

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