Fred recently entered the office of a Medicaid Practice Network (MPN) attorney asking for a trust. The attorney
asked Fred why he thought he needed a trust, and Fred responded, “Well, I know I need to avoid probate and I
heard that’s the way to do it.” The attorney inquisitively asked, “Have you had any experience with probate?”
Fred said, “I’m not quite sure what it is, but I know I need to avoid it because that’s what everybody tells me.
The MPN attorney then began to explain probate to Fred as the legal process where the named executor presents
the Will to the court to have it “proved” so the executor can be appointed. The process requires the completion
of a probate petition and signed consents by all heirs of decedent, even if they aren’t named in the Will. The
attorney clarified that probate can get extremely complex if the heirs do not sign the consent forms when mailed
to them. In fact, failing a “Will contest” occurs not by any action of the heirs, but merely by refusing to sign
the consent when forwarded to them.
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