Black’s Law Dictionary defines probate as “The judicial procedure by which a testamentary document is established to be a valid will; the proving of a will to the satisfaction of the court.”
The word alone can induce anxiety and tension, yet many do not take advantage of options available to avoid probate. And, without a last will and testament, probate can be substantially more stressful than necessary including where and how to bury your loved one which is often a point of contention when there’s no plan in place.
Why does probate cause so much family tension?! Because, in reality, the survivors who end up bickering in court are not fighting because they lost a loved one. They are fighting over unresolved trauma that occurred years ago, if not decades, before the loved one died and the deceased loved one was likely at the center or core of the trauma; such as one child being favored over another.
Without an estate plan, most will create their own story about your last wishes based on their individual childhood trauma. Preparing an estate plan with an ethical will or love letter is a perfect way to still the waters between the survivors left behind who will need to lean on each other in your absence.
Here’s an interesting article on the subject. Let me know your thoughts about leaving a Love Letter for your loved ones.