Will my estate necessarily go through probate if I become incapacitated and when I die? It depends upon how you arrange the ownership of your assets during your lifetime. If you use a trust rather than a last will and testament to transfer assets, probate will not be necessary (as long as your trust owns your assets). There are other ways, less complete than a trust, to own assets that also avoid probate, such as P.O.D. (Payable on Death), T.O.D. (Transfer on Death), JWROS (Joint with Rights of Survivorship) and beneficiary designation (such as life insurance, retirement plans, annuities). Which is right for you and your family? That should be thoroughly discussed with a competent, experienced Estate Planning Attorney.
-Jack N. Alpern, Esq.