Probate is a court process used to distribute the assets of the deceased following their wishes as stated in their Last Will and Testament. (If no Last Will and Testament exists, the court uses the probate process to distribute assets according to state law rather than the wishes of the deceased.)
Our clients typically wish to avoid probate for one of three reasons:
Unnecessary Expenses: As a court-administered process, probate usually requires the assistance of an attorney. It also requires that an Executor is appointed to direct the procedure on behalf of the heirs. Both the attorney and the Executor will result in additional fees due from the estate. These fees can become quite significant depending upon the estate at hand and are often completely unnecessary.
Time Delays: The transfer of property from the deceased to their heirs becomes a lengthy process lasting at least several months. The process is made all the more complicated if your heirs do not agree on every aspect of the estate distribution. While family members may love each other deeply, they might not always see eye to eye. It only takes one heir to contest a Will, and the probate process can go on for years.
Private Matters Becoming Public: All documents related to the transfer of property during probate are filed with the court. This information is accessible to the public. That means that the probate process publicizes the value of a deceased person’s assets, the intended beneficiaries and any conditions related to their receipt of the assets.
AVOID PROBATE WITH THE RIGHT ESTATE PLAN
The right estate plan can make your last wishes known AND avoid probate.