If you were to state your final wishes regarding the desired transfer of your estate, you would name an executor to act as the estate administrator. This individual or entity would not be allowed to proceed individually without any court supervision.
The will would be admitted to probate, and the probate judge would preside over the proceedings. Though it does serve a purpose in a general sense, it is not really positive for the heirs to an estate.
Probate can be avoided through the implementation of the proper techniques, and in this post, we will share four reasons why this may be a good idea.
You would obviously want your loved ones to receive their inheritances as soon as possible after you are gone. Unfortunately, there is a considerable waiting game when a will is used.
Probate will take nine months to a year to run its course, even if it is a relatively simple, straightforward case. No inheritances would be distributed while the estate was being probated by the court.
If there are complications, it can take considerably longer. As a case in point, the first Anna Nicole Smith estate dispute with her deceased husband’s family was fought out in probate court for about 16 years.
It Can Be Expensive
Probate is not free by any stretch of the imagination. There are innumerable expenses that reduce the value of the estate that will be passed along to the heirs. These would include court costs, legal fees, accounting expenses, liquidation and appraisal charges, the executor’s remuneration, and various incidentals.
All in all, these expenses can consume a noticeable portion of the estate, and that is certainly not a good thing.
There Is a Loss of Privacy
Do you want anyone who is interested to be able to know exactly what you had in your possession when you died and how you decided to pass it along?
There are very few people who would answer this question in the affirmative, but that is the way it goes when an estate is probated. The records are public, so they are fair game for prying eyes.
This loss of privacy is disturbing in a general sense, and it can have specific negative ramifications. Individuals who were close to you may take exception with your decisions, and this can cause ongoing hard feelings among people who you care about.
Opens the Door for Estate Challenges
One of the functions of the probate process is to give the court an opportunity to examine the will to confirm its validity. This is called a “proving of the will.” If somebody wants to come forward to challenge the will, they can do so during the probate process.
As we have touched upon previously, an estate contest can slow things down to a standstill.
Probate Avoidance Tool
The most widely utilized tool that can be used as an alternative to a will to avoid probate is the revocable living trust.
When you establish this type of trust, the trustee who you name in the document would be empowered to distribute the resources in accordance with your wishes outside of probate. This is one of the benefits, but there are many others, so it is a very effective device.
Download Our Estate Planning Worksheet
Our firm has prepared a very useful worksheet that you can use to gain a more thorough understanding of this very important endeavor. It is being offered free of charge, so you have no reason not to take advantage of the opportunity to build on your knowledge.
To get your copy, visit our worksheet access page and follow the simple instructions.
Schedule a Consultation!
If you know that it is time to put an estate plan in place, our attorneys are here for you. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 913-262-2000.