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Here Are 5 Steps to Make Probate Easier on Your Family

Avoid Probate Altogether

  • Work with your financial advisor and estate attorney to create the appropriate strategy for your situation.

  • A will and a trust are a great start but understand that any estate valued over $10,000 will likely need to be probated.

  • Don’t forget to move your assets into your trust if you create one. Forgetting to do so makes your trust pointless.

Review Your Beneficiary Designations 

  • Any asset owned solely by you will likely be probated. You can avoid this for financial assets by assigning beneficiary designations. For non-retirement accounts, it’s called a TOD (transfer on death). For bank accounts, it’s called a POD (payable on death). Make sure you keep these designations updated in case you get divorced or any current beneficiary dies.

  • It’s generally wise to avoid naming a minor as a beneficiary. An adult has to take responsibility of that asset until the child reaches the age of majority, and you may unintentionally fund someone else’s dreams and aspirations.

  • Talk to your financial advisor as you may need to leave some money to cover basic estate settlement expenses.


  • If your estate still needs to be probated, make sure your executor knows what is expected of them. How do you plan on providing this information? Checklists and an attached letter are a great way to do this, if you can’t do this in person.

  • Make it easy for them to find what they need when the time comes. Do you have all your information written down and in a place that’s easy for them to find?

Get Organized

  • Does your family know where to find your final wishes, pertinent documents, and information about your life that now needs to be sorted through and settled?

  • Make sure they have my contact information and know that a trained advocate is ready to help.

Utilize Your Local Estate Transition Specialist

  • Pre-Probate Planning: I educate my clients on what the probate process looks like and help them get organized by documenting their assets and overall financial life as well as any pertinent info that needs to be easily found for their executor to get started quickly.

  • After Loss Professional Services: I work directly with executors to provide them with education and tools, one of which is an online or physical system to track estate settlement. I coordinate referrals based on their unique situation and work as “boots on the ground” for out of state executors or those less mobile. I offer hands-on help for matters like coordinating the disposition of personal property through estate sales and charitable donations, finding senior move managers and assisted living care managers for surviving spouses, arranging for grief counseling, and much more.

  • Probate Real Estate Sales: Selling a home in probate can be a tricky endeavor, but working with someone who understands the pitfalls to avoid can make all the difference, and this Realtor knows how to aggressively negotiate to maximize profit for the heirs of the estate.


If any of this is hitting too close to home, reach out to me. I am an Estate Transition Specialist and a licensed REALTOR specializing in probate in Cherokee County and the surrounding areas.

I don’t give legal advice, but I do have financial advisors and attorneys that I trust to take care of you. I also have an extensive network of service providers that can come to the rescue of any of your estate transition or real estate needs.

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