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If theres a will, will the property and assets go through probate for example house,stocks,bank accounts.and etc.

Chicago, IL |

my parents are both alive and theres no will right now , just for now if something happen to them both of them what would happen with all the above things i mentioned . eem trying to make my father understand that he needs to protect his assets that he has worked for all these years and to avoid probate and courts .

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Attorney answers 3


You cannot avoid probate with a Will. The only time a Will is ever effective is when it is admitted to probate. If there are assets titled in a decedent's name at the time of death, probate will be necessary. If assets are jointly held, (which is generally not a good idea), have beneficiaries designated, (a much better idea), or are held by a trust (also a good idea), then probate will not be necessary.

Everything else being equal, avoiding probate makes a lot of sense, in most cases.

Your parents should see an estate planning attorney to discuss their options. If they wish to avoid probate, a Will may not be needed, but they should both have durable power of attorney forms for financial and medical treatment matters.

James Frederick

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!


With or without a Last Will your parents assets would likely go through probate to be distributed. Often we attorneys would recommend a Living Trust to avoid probate.

More importantly, in my opinion, is the preparation of medical and property powers of attorney for your parents. Without them, in the event of incapacity, guardianship through court might become necessary. Guardianship proceedings are much more cumbersome and costly than probate.

I suggest that you do what you can to get your patents to chat with an elder law attorney to explain these concepts. You can find elder law attorneys on this website and at

Best wishes.

Legal Disclaimer: Paul A. Smolinski is licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois only, and as such, his answers to AVVO inquiries are based on his understanding of Illinois law only. His answers are for general information about perceived legal issues within this question only and no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to extend any right of confidentiality between you and Mr. Smolinski, to constitute legal advice, or create an attorney/client or other contractual relationship. An attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement including an evaluation of the specific legal problem and review of all the facts and documents at issue. We try to insure the accuracy of this information, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy. The reader should never assume that this information applies to his or her specific situation or constitutes legal advice. Therefore, please consult competent counsel that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances.

Michael Andrew Otte

Michael Andrew Otte


I strongly 'second' attorney Smolinski's response. In my opinion also, well-drafted property and health care powers of attorney are of paramount importance. Your parents can locate a quality elder law attorney in your area at Click on “Find an Attorney” and locate one near you to meet with for a one-hour consultation.


You are receiving good advice in the earlier answers. When you ask what will happen, however, I assume the main question is who will receive those assets. Your parents may be surprised. If there are assets they hold individually, when the first of them first passes, the assets will go half to the surviving spouse, half to the children (including descendents of any deceased child), not all to the surviving spouse as many would envision. When the second dies, then assets will pass to the children or descendents of a deceased child. Another difference is that a bond will be required in the administration of the estate. So, there may be added costs or burdens on individuals. Also, things that you would think should be simply resolved and would be with a will, such as who should administer the estate, can blow up into added costs. As already advised, if nothing more, your parents should consider at least a simple will and powers of attorney for health care and property.

The scope of this space does not afford an opportunity to adequately advise you. The response provided is intended to be informative, but not final. You are advised to arrange a consultation at which all facts and documents can be explored and terms for representation agreed. An attorney-client relationship must be formally established.