Can I avoid probate by having all of my heirs sign a distribution agreement which follows the directives of my Will?

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Can I avoid probate by having all of my heirs sign a distribution agreement which follows the directives of my Will?

Asked on December 17, 2013 under Estate Planning, Illinois

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

No. The only way to avoid probate is to have a trust or ensure that much of your property is in joint title with right of survivorship or has an automatic beneficiary (like life insurance and such). Your will is your distribution agreement in some respects but keep in mind that creditors and other unnamed beneficiaries may have a right to the assets in the will and if an heir dies before you do and you don't change your will, the gift may lapse unless you have anti-lapse statutes or residuary clauses. Many people have pour over wills into trusts.


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