Is Probate Needed if There is a Will?

When a loved one passes away, they may leave behind valuable assets that they intended to distribute to beneficiaries. With a will, the creator is able to instruct an appointed executor about the distribution of those assets. However, before anything is given away, the will or estate assets must still go through probate.

Here are a few pieces of information that will help you on whether or not probate is needed in your situation. If you have any questions regarding probate, contact the Marcia Campbell team.

When Probate is Needed

Probate is the legal process that locates and determines the value of a decedent’s assets, pays their final bills and taxes, and distributes the remainder of the estate to the rightful beneficiaries. 

In short, probate is required regardless of whether or not a will is in place. If the decedent left behind assets in a will to distribute to the beneficiaries if assets equal or surpass $150,000. 

Probate may also be needed if:

  • There is no estate planning or a will (dying intestate).
    • State law may determine who the assets go to.
  • Beneficiaries disagree on the distribution of assets.
  • Beneficiaries refuse the inheritance.
  • A beneficiary dies before receiving assets from the deceased.

Related Article:
What are the Responsibilities of a Professional Fiduciary?

Can You Avoid Probate?

In some cases, the owner of assets may want to avoid probate after they pass. Reasons span from privacy (probates are on the public record) or they want to save their loved ones time, effort, and conflict after passing away. Estate creators may also choose to create trusts to distribute what they want and when. 

The best way to avoid probate is through meticulous estate planning and setting up a trust. Trusts do not typically go through probate, because once the creator passes away, the trust is executed via the instructions of the trust document.


Have a question about probate or setting up a trust? Schedule time with Marcia Campbell, CPA.

If you need help, please contact us by filling out our Contact Form or by giving our office a call at +1(951)686-3608.

As the most experienced CPA in the Inland Empire who specializes in working with seniors, Marcia L. Campbell is committed to helping each client thrive by caring for their personal and financial wellbeing with genuine interest, well-established expertise, and a focus on respectful partnerships. Marcia’s team specializes in a number of services, including elder & financial care, court & trust accountings, as well as private fiduciary and tax services. At Marcia L. Campbell, CPA, we understand the importance of our clients’ individual needs and are committed to helping them make the best personal and financial decisions for their future.

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