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Is it always necessary to go through probate if there is a valid Will?

Avoiding probate requires a good estate attorney and a great deal of planning. There are various ways to avoid probate, as reviewed below.

Generally it is necessary to go through probate or, in the case of smaller estates, a less formal procedure that is still under the general supervision of the probate court, before the deceased's property can be legally distributed. As long as a person passes away with a Will intact, probate court allows others to object to that Will, and will determine if that Will is valid in spite of those objections during probate. It might be possible that (A) there was a later Will (which, if valid, would replace the older Will), or (B) the Will was made at a time the deceased was not mentally competent to make a Will, or (C) the Will was the result of fraud, mistake or "undue influence" or (D) the Will was not properly "executed", or (E) the Will in question is a forgery, or (F) for some other reason (like a pre-existing contract) the Will is not 100% valid, or (G) there are numerous other claims against the estate that will affect what the beneficiaries will inherit under the provisions and requests under the Will.

No one will take part in any transactions involving such inherited property prior to the Will being admitted to probate and/or an appropriate party lawfully appointed to represent the estate. If the deceased owned real estate in his or her own name, no well-informed outside party or parties would assume title to the property, and no bank would sign-off on a new mortgage, unless the estate went through the process of probate in order for "clear title" to be approved for the new buyer.