When you use a last will to record your final wishes, the executor or some other person close to you must admit the will to probate. Probate is a legal process that the estate must pass through before the heirs receive their inheritances.
There are certain drawbacks that go along with the probate process. For this reason many people implement probate avoidance strategies. In this post we would like to look at three of the drawbacks of probate.
Loss of Privacy
The first drawback of probate that we would like to highlight is the loss of privacy. Probate is a public proceeding that takes place under the supervision of the probate court. As a result, anyone who is interested could access probate records.
For various reasons some people would prefer to keep the details of their final affairs private.
Probate is not free. There are various different costs that can accumulate during this process. The exact extent of the expenses will vary on a case-by-case basis depending on the complexity of the estate.
Property must be prepared for distribution to the heirs. As a result, there can be liquidation expenses and appraisal fees. Final taxes must be paid, so an accountant is often necessary. The executor may also require the assistance of a probate lawyer. These professionals must be paid, and the executor is entitled to payment as well.
In addition to all of these expenses, the court itself will charge a filing fee. Money that is spent during probate is money that would have otherwise gone to the heirs to the estate.
You probably would like your heirs to receive their inheritances in a timely manner. Unfortunately, probate is a time-consuming process.
Even a relatively simple case will take several months at minimum. More complicated cases can take years.
Different people and entities can come forward with claims against the estate. The liquidation of property can take time. There can be conflicts that must be decided by the court.
No one wants to wait forever for an inheritance. However, for some a wait could be nothing more than an inconvenience. On the other hand, there are people who cannot afford to wait because they were relying on the decedent financially.
Probate provides useful protections, and we are not suggesting that the process is something that should be avoided at all costs. This having been stated, if you do want to arrange for the transfer of assets to your heirs outside of probate you have options.
One possibility would be the creation of a revocable living trust. With this type of trust you retain control of the assets while you are living. After you die, the trustee that you choose distributes the resources to the beneficiaries according to your wishes outside of probate.
This is just one of your options. Contact our firm if you would like to obtain more information.