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Why You Should & How to Avoid Probate

Dec 7, 2020 | Estate Planning


  • Understanding how to avoid probate can save you time, money, and frustration.
  • Rules in probate court are different across different counties. Some counties have rules and requirements other counties don’t have.
  • You can protect yourself from probate court with a trust.

Normally, this is something that my staff and I talk about. But, today’s video is going to be answering the question, “why do I and my staff hate probate?” I’ll also cover why you should and how to avoid probate court all together.

You could say, “Jeff, you may just be making that up just so you can get people to do the alternative, which is revocable living trusts. You may be doing that just because you make more money doing revocable trusts.” I’ll answer those two questions.

Number one, I don’t make any more money doing revocable trust, and I do it well. I do make more money on the backend doing probate as opposed to administrating revocable trust. Did you hear that? I make more money doing something I don’t like. I’m telling you that I don’t like it.

The reason I’m telling you that I don’t like it even though I make money at it is so that you will be able to avoid this. It’s not fun. It’s not fun for your family. It’s really, really not fun for us. Let’s get into why it’s not fun.

Why Probate Is Complicated

The state normally has a set of laws, or they do have a set of laws that are statewide that govern probate. That must mean there’s a one set of roles for everybody. No, it doesn’t mean that at all. What it means is, yes, kind of, sort of. What it also means if you dig a little deeper is that every single county has rules that are unique to that county that the judge gets to make up on their own.

I did say that. The judge gets to make up on their own. Sometimes, these rules just like shock us. It’s almost like you have to keep a spreadsheet of the differences in rules between Cobb County, Cherokee County, Gilmer County, Forsyth County, Fulton County, Paulding County. The rules are different in every county.

Sometimes, that makes no sense. The other day, we had a case where the judge made us send in a special document that we had to make special for that court saying that I didn’t want to do something. I’ve never been asked to create such a document or any other court before. I just didn’t have to tell them I didn’t want to do it. I just didn’t do it. Well, not so with the way of this court.

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There’s another court that wanted us to produce documents that no other court had asked us to produce documents. I want to ask you a very simple question. If every probate is different, it depends on the judge.

Remember, in some of these larger counties, there’s different judges. There’s not just one judge. There’s assistant judge, maybe. If every time we’re doing this, or often there’s new things that we have to do, do you think that that takes longer? Do you think that that increases the cost? Of course, it does.

Protecting Your Assets with a Trust

That’s the reason my staff don’t like doing it. They’re not doing stuff like administrating trust. It’s relatively straightforward and simple. I do make more money probating wills, but I really don’t want to probate wills. I would rather administrate trust because it’s faster and quicker, easier on us, and that it’s cheaper on your family.

If you were involved in probate, you are literally raising your hand and saying, “Yes, I would like to volunteer to have my spouse and my children be involved in a court process, and I’m sure my wife is going to be in favor of this. I’m sure my daughter or my son, they’re going to love this. They don’t have anything better to do.”

I just want to give you a little thumbnail sketch of why we hate probate because some people think, assume that attorneys love doing things just because I make money out of it. It’s not true at all. It might be true when you’re a baby attorney, and you don’t have any choices in life. Once you’re a seasoned attorney, it becomes a pain in the rear.

We at Fouts Law Group focus on asset protection for you and for your family. We specialize in that. We are not general practitioners. We want to share our knowledge with you. We want you to have a plan that actually functions and doesn’t just look pretty.

Give us a call if you’d like to schedule a free consultation. When you come in, I’ll also give you a copy of my book. It is a real book available on Amazon, but you won’t have to pay for it. It’s called “Estate Planning in Georgia,” how to leave your assets in a smart way and protect it.

Want to learn more about protecting your assets and life savings? Attend our free online workshop today!
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