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Sudden Wealth Blog

An Overview of Probate With a Trust

Two people reviewing documents related to a probate with a trust.

Probate with a trust can be complicated and can involve a few extra steps. In this guide, we’ll cover what you need to know about probate when dealing with trusts, from the role of beneficiaries and trustees to the process of navigating the legal system.

What Is Probate?

Probate is a legal process in which a court supervises the distribution of a deceased person’s property according to their will or applicable state law. It can be necessary if someone owns real estate or other major assets at the time of death, and it is designed to ensure that all debts are paid off and all rightful beneficiaries receive what they are entitled to according to the trust agreement. Also read our blog “What Is Probate and Why Do You Want to Avoid It?

What is a Trust and What’s Its Purpose?

A trust is a legal arrangement in which one person (the grantor) transfers the ownership of their assets to another person or organization (the trustee). The trust then serves as the owner of those assets. The trustee manages and distributes the trust assets according to the guidelines set by the grantor. The purpose of a trust is typically to protect an individual’s assets and provide for their beneficiaries after death. In some cases, it can also be used to manage finances during life or pass down property or wealth from generation to generation.

How Does a Trust Avoid Probate?

A properly drafted, properly funded trust can avoid probate court. If a person’s estate plan was up to date and properly done, a trust is a great way to avoid probate. Assets in a trust do not have to go through probate because the trustee is already responsible for distributing them according to the wishes of the person who set up the trust. This makes them a great way to ensure that your estate is distributed according to your wishes after you pass away.

When Is Probate Necessary with a Trust?

Even when you have assets held in trust, probate may still be necessary in some situations. Probate may be required if the trust did not cover all of a person’s assets or if the trustee is unable to distribute assets without court approval. Also, if an asset was not transferred to the trust prior to the owner’s death, a probate may be needed. These scenarios often require that probate be carried out in order for the trust to be followed according to its terms and conditions.

What Are the Steps of Probate with a Trust?

The steps of probate with a trust vary depending on the type will, the type of trust, and assets owned. Generally, the process requires filing paperwork with the court in the jurisdiction where the deceased individual owned property or resided. This paperwork will show who is entitled to be appointed as Personal Representative.

Probate With a Pourover Will

If your deceased loved one had a will and a trust, then the purpose of that will is probably to “pour over” the assets in their personal name to their trust. A pourover will is considered a back up document and kicks in when the deceased person forgot to transfer an asset to their trust.

Probate Without a Will

If there is no will, but there is a trust, then the assets in the deceased person’s personal name go through an “intestate” probate administration. That means state law will determine who gets those assets. Unlike the case of when there is a pourover will, in this case the assets simply go to the heirs as set forth under state law.

Probate With a Trust? Let Us Help!

Are you in need of assistance with a probate and trust matter? Our experienced legal team is here to help you navigate the complexities of these types of cases. With our knowledge and expertise, we can help ensure that your loved one’s assets are properly distributed according to their wishes.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to take action. Call our law firm today at 602-443-4888 to schedule a consultation and learn how we can assist you with your probate and trust needs. Our team is dedicated to providing you with personalized attention and effective solutions to your legal matters. Let us help you achieve peace of mind during this difficult time.


Founding attorney Paul Deloughery has been an attorney since 1998, became a Certified Family Wealth Advisor. He is also the founder of Sudden Wealth Protection Law.