It is not always clear how mistaken estate planning beliefs get started. It usually happens on the Internet with people seeking out legal advice from often bad sources. Sometimes, it starts with a television show or movie that has played loose with the law.
Regardless of how mistaken beliefs start, it is important to make sure that you do not believe any of them.
One that more people believe than might be expected is that wills do not have to go through probate.
That is just wrong, as TC Palm discussed in "Common misconceptions about wills and trusts."
This idea probably got its start because in some states if an estate is small enough, then it does not have to go through probate. Usually, these are very small estates with very few assets.
Someone with good intentions probably had a relative or friend who passed away with few assets and as a consequence, the will did not have to go through probate.
However, a will has to go through probate before it does anything at all. They need to be submitted to the court and approved. The probate court then oversees the administration of the estate as conducted by the executor or personal representative.
If you want your estate to avoid probate, a will is not what you need. Instead you need to use other estate planning instruments, such as trusts.
Trusts do not have to go through probate in almost all cases. If you would like to get one, schedule an appointment with an estate planning attorney.
Reference: TC Palm (Oct. 5, 2017) "Common misconceptions about wills and trusts."