Q: Is it always a good idea to try to avoid probate?
A: There is no 'one size fits all' estate plan. SOMETIMES it is a good idea to avoid probate, and in MANY cases, probate can actually avoid problems that trying to avoid it will create. Sometimes, heirs NEED the structure of probate to insure everything gets done properly and in a timely manner, and other times and in some states particularly, the costs of probate are FAR more than non-probate.
In some states probate is actually LESS expensive than a complex trust administration designed to 'avoid probate'.
Bottom line: Don't believe any one trick pony that tells you to do 'x' without explaining WHY x is the best choice. RUN don't walk away from anyone who tries to scare you about 'death taxes' or that the big bad government is going to steal all your hard earned money ... Talk with a local licensed attorney who can provide real advice about YOUR situation instead of general advice about what 'might be' .... Most attorneys offer free or low cost initial consultations so you can figure out whether or not you are a good 'fit' to work together. Take advantage of that and meet with a local attorney.
-- This answer is offered for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney/client relationship. I am licensed to practice in Michigan only. Please seek competent local legal help if you feel you need legal advice
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