When you place assets into a will, your estate must pass through the probate process. Probate involves the sorting and administration of your estate under court supervision. While probate isn’t meant to be a horrible and complicated process, in some cases it can be a stressful and chaotic time for your family.
If you are among those wanting to avoid probate, here are four benefits to doing just that.
Overall, probate can be a costly process. The amount of fees that your family will have to pay can add up quickly. This includes court costs, executor fees, attorney fees, accounting fees and even appraisal fees. Generally, your estate will cover these costs. However, the more probate expenses you have to cover, the less likely your beneficiaries at the end of your list will receive their inheritances since those assets might be used to cover those costs.
In addition to all its expenses, probate can also last months — and sometimes years. Even if you’re executor is well-prepared, probate is a time-consuming process. Each asset in the estate must be assessed, valued, sorted and distributed. A large estate or multiple beneficiaries can draw out the process.
Other factors such as out-of-state beneficiaries, assets that require tax returns and estates with unusual or out-of-state assets can delay the probate process even more.
Keep the process private
The details of probate court proceedings become part of the public record. That means that any documentation and information about your estate, your beneficiaries and who inherited what is available to the public at any time. Avoiding probate can allow you to keep the contents of your estate within the family and away from prying eyes.
Reduce family disputes
Since probate can be a long, stressful process, it can leave room for family disagreements and disputes. Beneficiaries might have hard feelings, or siblings might clash heads when it comes to their inheritances. A long probate period only gives unhappy family members time to start a fight or initiate litigation, which can further delay the process and add to the expenses.
How can I avoid probate?
One of the most common ways to avoid probate is by placing assets into a trust rather than a will. If you are wanting to avoid probate, an estate planning attorney can help you adjust your plan so that you can ensure a stress-free and secure future for your loved ones.