How To Avoid Probate
How To Avoid Probate.
Initiate the conversation with loved ones to avoid probate
Are you wanting to have a conversation with your parents about making sure they’re living trust, their will, maybe their medical healthcare directive, all those legal documents are in order, but you’re either hitting a roadblock that every time you start to bring it up, they just shut you down, or you’re even afraid how to bring it up? I’ve met a lot of people over the years that have been in your shoes, and unfortunately, they never got around to doing it and their parents passed away and they had to go through the probate process to sell the house. Some of them losing upwards of $60,000 of their parents’ estate and assets because of the cost.
Today, I’m going to talk about three things, three steps I think that you could consider that will make it easier for you. Let’s avoid probate, people. Probate is such a brutal, brutal process. Stick around to the end because I’ve got something that will kind of wrap all of this up in a big fat bow and I am happy to give it to you. Hey, it’s Annie Baker. I’m back again. Today, I’m trying to help you stay out of the probate courts. Probate, probate, probate. It’s just no fun when I help clients go through the probate process. Step number one, lead by example. What does that mean? You need to do it first. Have you even put your house in a living trust?
Have you set up your will? Do you have your medical healthcare directive done? Are your legal documents in order? I can’t tell you how often I talk to people that are stressed about their parents not having done it. I ask them and they’re like, “Well, we haven’t gotten around to it yet. We’ll get there, but we’re younger. It’s okay.” Enough, people. Age has nothing to do with death. Get that through your head. Yes, it’s easier to think that you’re going to die an old person, but accidents happen, illnesses happen. You need to take care of your house. You need to get your documents in order. I know I’ve had friends that passed away in their thirties and left a hornet’s nest of administrative issues for their family.
I don’t care if you’re in your forties and you’re healthy, even if you’re in your thirties and you’re healthy, your fifties and you’re healthy, just get it done. What does that look like? You got to set up your living trust. You got to do your will, do your medical healthcare directive, do a power of attorney. Get it all done. I can help with resources if you need an attorney for that. I even have a paralegal that will do it if you have a really simple estate, so it’s more cost effective.
But then you can talk to your parents or your one parent that’s still alive and say, “Hey, you know what I just did? It was not super fun. It stressed me out. It kind of gave me anxiety, but it also made me feel really, really good that I am protecting my assets and my estate for my children, my loved ones.” Maybe you don’t have kids, but you’ve got nieces and nephews, whoever you want to leave any of your assets to. I’m telling you, it’ll give you a lot of peace of mind to do it for yourself, but it will make it easier for you to have that conversation with your parents. Step number two is provide the resources for them.
Maybe you did your trust and your will and everything years ago and your parents have known that and they still didn’t want to talk about it. You can go to them and say, “Hey, I was just talking to my attorney the other day, just making sure all our documents were still updated and everything is the way it should be. I brought you up and they said they would love to be able to talk to you. They can help you too.” It’s easy. You can give them the phone number. Make it easy. You could also offer up a paralegal if they wanted, but make it easy for them so they’re not like, “Okay, okay, I’ll do it.” And maybe they used to know an attorney, but they’re not that comfortable with that attorney.
More so, those are excuses that they come up with like, “Oh, I’ll do it at some point.” Have the resources available, make it easy for them, even set up the appointment, go with them. However it’s going to make it easier and less stressful for your parent, do it. And then number three, you can go the back doorway and talk to your attorney. Maybe talk to your CPA, your accountant. Talk to your financial advisor. Maybe if you know your parents’ financial advisor and those people, set up a meeting to go meet with your advisors or your parents’ advisors and ask them to take the initiative to reach out to your parents, so you’re not the bad guy.
They can just say, “Hey, I’m calling some past clients or relatives of some of my clients just to offer up any help to them.” By the professional reaching out to your parent directly, it just eliminates another excuse why your parents haven’t done it. In summary, how to avoid probate? By having the hard conversation with your parents or your loved ones. Lead by example. Again, this isn’t about your parent being closer to dying. You could get hit by a track tomorrow and die before them. Explain that to your parents that you have got your ducks in order. They should too.
Make sure you have resources available to give them, phone numbers, contacts, setting up the meeting, going with them to the meeting, making it easier for your parents not to feel alone and overwhelmed where to go to get the documents. And three, go through the back door and have the professionals reach out to your parents. Make sure it’s someone you trust so you know that when they reach out, they have good intentions and they really are going to help your parents. Trying to eliminate some of the excuses.
But I really do think one of the biggest things you can say to your parents is, “This is not about me being greedy, wanting inheritance. This is not about you being old and almost dying. All of us should be prepared no matter what age we are. Honestly, why do you want to just give money to attorneys and the state and the recorder’s office? I mean, exorbitant amounts of money just to pass on things that you’ve loved, a house, a car, your bank account, to give those to the people you’ve left behind. It’s your last legacy. Why make it harder? All the loved ones are going to be sad enough. You don’t want to make it harder on them.”
I think coming from a place of that compassion and hey, I’m walking in your shoes right now. I’m aging just like you are. We all have to be prepared. You’ll just make it a little softer for your parents. Do what you can to get these documents done to avoid probate. What was I talking about at the beginning about something that’ll make it a lot easier to have this conversation? It’s my book. I wrote this book, accumulating the information that I knew I needed to know as I age for my loved ones and what I would need to do for my parents as they age.
I have a whole chapter on the legal documents. This is an Amazon bestseller. So proud of myself. I’d be happy to give it to you for just shipping and handling costs. I have a link right here you can go and just give me your information and I would be happy to send it to you. It’s a great way to open up the conversation with my book. Good luck with your conversations. And until the next video, have a good one.