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Probate Court

Each state has an established procedure for administering the property (or estate) of people who die. This procedure is called probate. The court system oversees probate, and the process typically costs between 3% and 7% of the estate’s total value. While helpful in some cases, probate is time-consuming and usually not the most effective way to execute an estate.

The five steps of a typical probate process are:

  1. Appoint an executor/ personal representative.
  2. Collect and document all of the assets of the decedent.
  3. Determine any debts owed by the decedent.
  4. Use estate property to pay any outstanding debts.
  5. Distribute any remaining property to those specified in the will, or if there is no will, according to the state’s intestacy statute.

The good news is that probate can be avoided by proactive planning. The perfect estate plan for you, crafted at Keele & Parke, can ensure that every part of your estate is accounted for to avoid the uncertainty of probate court proceedings following your passing.

Probate Avoidance

Probate courts exist largely to re-title property when it is needed. This means that any capital or property with titles in your name will be processed in this way when you pass away. A comprehensive estate plan, then, will designate a plan for the transfer of all titles in your name.

Your personal estate plan may include any combination of legal documents to protect your hard-earned assets from the risks of probate court. Property exempt from probate includes qualified retirement plans, life insurance and annuities, jointly-owned property, funds held under a pay-on-death agreement, and property held in trusts.

By transferring any property in your title to a revocable trust, it becomes legally safeguarded from states’ probate statutes. Our clients profit from our expertise in estate management and organization, and enjoy the peace of mind that accompanies a thorough plan for all of their assets.


Intestacy is the state of passing away without a valid Last Will and Testament. If a person dies without a plan for property division, states must follow their respective intestacy statutes to appoint an executor and divide their property. The executor receives money from the estate, and intestacy statutes set arbitrary guidelines for property division.

Because of this, it is incredibly risky not to create a valid will and testament. Your estate should be managed in the way that you want, and we offer an infinite combination of strategies to preserve your wishes and validate them in the law. Our clients remain confident that their wishes will be validated in the law, and that their estate will be managed and divided exactly as they expect.