Once upon a time, a mother goat had seven kids.  After a home invasion (in which all seven were eaten by a wolf but rescued by their mother) they lived happily ever after.  The seven kids grew up and moved out, and then one day, the mother goat died.

Her homestead passed to her grown kids (as there were no minor children or spouse).  While all seven kids were living when she died, two of them died shortly thereafter.  One of the remaining five was very stubborn.  He did not want to wait for all the legal paperwork; instead, he wanted to sell his mother’s house right away and get the money.

The stubborn kid was impatient but he was fair.  Despite the death of his two siblings, the grown kid planned to divide the proceeds equally seven ways, benefitting the heirs of his two deceased siblings.  However, even though the money was going to go where it should have gone, it would have messed up the real estate title, rendering the property uninsurable, and therefore not sellable.

So the stubborn kid had to go butt his head against the courthouse until his mother’s house went through probate.

Depending on your circumstances, you may want to avoid probate, or you may want your property to go through it. “Probate” is not a dirty word, and you do not need a glove to use it.  Probate is the way the court verifies the will, makes sure certain debts are paid, and oversees the distribution of a decedent’s property.  Probate ensures that the court does not take shortcuts in asset distribution.  Talk to your attorney to determine if you want to avoid probate.