Creating a Will as your estate planning device can lead to Will challenges, and can also lead to conflict among the people that you loved if your decisions do not appeal to all interested parties. It can also leave your beneficiaries open to financial predators because Wills must be filed with the Court and become a matter of public record. Therefore, information regarding any inheritance you pass on to your loved ones via that Will can be obtained by the general public.
Of course, you do not have to use a last Will as your primary vehicle of asset transfer, and some of these concerns can be circumvented if you select an alternative estate planning device.
A Will must pass through the legal process of probate, and during this time the probate court examines the Will to determine its validity. If it is in fact deemed valid, the court will supervise the administration of the estate.
If someone wants to challenge a Will, they present their argument before the probate court. Additionally, whether the Will is challenged or not, the details and administration of the probate are a matter of public record.
Most people would prefer that their decisions remain confidential, and of course nobody wants to see their final wishes challenged. Avoiding probate is a way to ensure privacy and make any challenges less likely.
Should you be interested in exploring probate avoidance strategies in an effort to keep your final affairs away from prying eyes, take a moment to arrange for a consultation with a qualified San Jose Area Estate Planning lawyer. We also invite you to attend one of our free living trust seminars. For more information, visit the Seminars section of our website.
Roy has an undergraduate degree in accounting from Indiana State University, and a Juris Doctor degree from Indiana University. He graduated from law school in 1973. Roy was a member of the legal fraternity of Phi Delta Phi and president of the local chapter at Indiana University Law School in 1972-73. In law school he was a recipient of the Dean Faust Award and received awards and honors in income taxation and estate and gift taxation.