Probate can be succinctly described as the legal process of estate administration. If you use a last will to state your final wishes, the executor who you name in the will would admit the document to probate. The court would provide supervision during the administration process.
In this post, we are going to share five important facts that you should know about probate. This knowledge will help you make more informed estate planning decisions.
It Serves a Purpose
The probate process exists for a few different reasons. First, there is a proving of the will during probate. The court examines the document to make sure that it is valid. If anyone wants to step forward to challenge the will, they can make a case while probate is underway.
Another main function of probate is to give creditors the opportunity to come forward seeking satisfaction. They are given a certain amount of time to seek payment, and in addition to private creditors, final tax bills must be paid during probate.
When a guardian is needed for an incapacitated adult or child, the probate court would preside over the proceedings. The court also handles intestacy cases. This condition exists when someone passes away without any estate planning documents at all.
Probate is Time Consuming
Probate will take nine months to a year in most jurisdictions, even if there are no particular complications. No inheritances can be distributed until the estate has been closed by the court. This is a long time to wait for an inheritance, and you would probably prefer to see your loved ones receive their bequests in a timely manner.
Expenses Lead to Inheritance Erosion
This process is not free by any stretch of the imagination. The executor is entitled to payment for his time and trouble, and an attorney and an accountant will often be engaged. There are court costs, and there can be appraisal and liquidation fees. When you add in the incidental expenses that the executor will incur, you are looking at a significant degree of inheritance erosion.
Probate is a Public Proceeding
If you are like most people, you probably value your privacy when it comes to your financial decisions. Probate records are available to the general public, so anyone who is interested can access them to find out how the assets were distributed.
In addition to the disturbing general loss of privacy, the information could cause hard feelings among interested parties.
It Can Be Avoided
If probate does not sound very appealing to you, it is possible to plan your estate with probate avoidance in mind. Instead of a last will, you could use a revocable living trust as the centerpiece of your estate plan.
When you go this route, you would be able to maintain control of the assets, because you could act as the trustee and the beneficiary while you are alive and well. In the trust declaration, you would name a trustee to succeed you, and your heirs would be the beneficiaries.
After your passing, the trustee would follow the instructions that you record in the trust declaration. The assets would be distributed in accordance with your wishes, and the probate court would not be involved. This is one of the benefits, but there are a number of others.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
Now is the time for action if you are going through life without an estate plan. We would be glad to gain an understanding of your situation, make the appropriate recommendations, and custom craft the ideal estate plan if you decide to move forward.
To set the wheels in motion, give us a call at 913-262-2000. There is also a contact form on this website that you can use if you would prefer to send us a message.