This page provides a list of some of the most popular books about probate. It includes estate planning books on how to avoid probate through the use of non-probate transfers, as well as guides on how to probate or settle a decedent's estate. Whether you are making an estate plan or serving as executor for the first time, you may benefit from reviewing these books.
Books on Avoiding Probate
There are many reasons to avoid probate. If you want to pass your estate to your intended beneficiaries without the public scrutiny of probate, there are several estate planning methods you can use. 8 Ways to Avoid Probate by Mary Randolph is an excellent guide to these methods. It features in depth instructions on how to use the following estate planning methods to avoid probate: pay on death accounts, transfer on death registrations, beneficiary designations, transfer on death deeds, joint tenancy, community property, living trusts, gifting, and more.Probate laws are different from state to state. For state-specific information about probate in all 50 states, read Randolph's book, 8 Ways to Avoid Probate. This affordable guide received rave reviews for being easy to understand. It is recommended for anyone interested in making things easier for their survivors and avoiding unnecessary legal and court costs.Written by an attorney with extensive experience in estate planning, this do it yourself probate guide provides a comparison of probate avoidance methods, information on probate of small estates, and important details about the necessity of a making a will even if you use other estate planning methods to pass property to your heirs. If you want to avoid probate but do not want to wade through a lot of legalese and fine print, read her book.
Guide to the Uniform Probate Code
If you want a greater understanding of intestate succession, probate, estate administration, and the laws applicable to wills and trusts, Averill and Radford's Uniform Probate Code and Uniform Trust Code in a Nutshell is an excellent reference guide. It provides comprehensive coverage of wills, trusts, probate, and
estate administration under the Uniform Probate Code and the Uniform Trust Code.This book covers issues such as the spousal share; inheritance rights of adopted children, illegitimate children, stepchildren, and other children; liability of executors and personal representatives; probate court jurisdiction; creditors claims against the estate; and probate of estates with property in more than one state or ancillary probate. The
Uniform Probate Code and Uniform Trust Code in a Nutshell by Lawrence Averill and Mary Radford also discusses the treatment of wills under the Uniform Probate Code, including with respect to testamentary capacity, holographic wills, revocation of wills, no contest clauses, ademption, will contests, etc.In addition to its coverage of the Uniform Probate Code, the Uniform Probate Code and Uniform Trust Code features detailed information on revocable living trusts, spendthrift trusts, charitable trusts, pet trusts, duties and powers of trustees, termination of trusts, and more. This is an essential book for anyone seeking a deeper analysis of the laws applicable to wills, trusts, estates, and probate.
Books on How to Probate an Estate
When faced with administering a deceased personís estate, there are a few key questions you need to answer right away. The first is whether the estate is required to go through formal probate. Some estates are not required to go through formal probate based on a small estates exception under applicable state laws.The second question you will need to answer is whether you need to hire a probate lawyer. Some estates can be administered by the executor or personal representative without a
probate lawyer. However, state laws, probate court rules, the complexity of the estate, or issues with the decedentís heirs or creditors may necessitate the use of a probate lawyer. For help answering both of these questions, The Executor's Guide: Settling a Loved One's Estate or Trust by attorney Mary Randolph is a reputable resource. It provides an overview of the different types of estate administration and information about probate in various states. This manual for executors includes essential information such as options for
probate of small estates, what to do if the deceased died without a will, and how to determine which probate court has jurisdiction over the estate.If you are the executor of an estate, this guide for executors, personal representatives, and administrators is one of the most comprehensive probate books you can buy. In addition to covering all aspects of how to probate and settle an estate, it features helpful checklists and worksheets for the executor or personal representative. It also answers the most frequently asked questions about estate administration.During probate, many other difficult questions may arise. For example, you may need to determine the spousal share or the amount the surviving spouse or domestic partner has the right to inherit based on state law. Other common probate questions include: what to do if the estate includes property in more than one state; what type of notice must be given to creditors; which creditors must be paid first; how to deal with an insolvent estate; how to obtain a valuation of estate property; what types of inventory and accounting records must be prepared; and what types of taxes are owed by estates. The Executor's Guide: Settling a Loved One's Estate or Trust by Mary Randolph provides information on these and other frequently asked questions about probate. If you are about to probate an estate for the first time, you will need to absorb a lot of new information, including legal terminology used by probate courts. You may also need to complete various types of probate court forms. The Complete Probate Kit by Jens C. Appel and F. Bruce Gentry will help you with probate terminology and includes sample probate forms. Whether or not you hire a probate lawyer, if you are the executor or personal representative of an estate, you should refer to a probate guide throughout the process to ensure you avoid costly mistakes.
Being Executor or Personal Representative
Being an executor or personal representative can be a huge sacrifice of your time. It also comes with personal liability that can cause stress and anxiety. Before beginning the process of administering an estate, get as much information as you can about your duties. See
for key points you need to know before you assume this role.
Frequently Asked Questions About Probate
For answers to some of the most common questions about probate and being an executor, see Probate Questions.