Back in the 1960s, forces within the legal establishment determined that the process of probate should be simplified and streamlined. Each state was using a different probate code, and interested parties wanted to see uniformity among the states.
In 1964, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws worked in conjunction with the American Bar Association to draft a Uniform Probate Code. It took them quite a bit of time to put the code together, but the final version was completed in 1969.
For better or worse, the ultimate goal of uniformity never came to fruition. At the time of this writing, only 16 states have adopted the entire Uniform Probate Code. Our firm practices in the state of California, and California has not adopted the Uniform Probate Code in its entirety.
Now that we have looked at the Uniform Probate code, we should provide some general information about the probate process.
Why would anyone think that the probate process should be streamlined in the first place? The answer is that this process can be somewhat unwieldy, and it can make things difficult for inheritors.
The probate process comes into play when you are in direct personal possession of property at the time of your passing. If you use a last will to direct the asset transfers, the will must be admitted to probate. The probate court supervises the administration of the estate under these circumstances.
This process can drag on for an extended period of time, and the inheritors don’t receive anything until the process has come to a close. It can take perhaps eight months to a year in simpler cases in most jurisdictions, and complicated cases can take much longer.
Probate costs can also add up to consume a considerable amount of money that would have otherwise gone to the heirs.
Another drawback is the loss of privacy. For various different reasons, you may not want everyone who is interested to know how you decided to pass along your resources. When an estate passes through probate, the goings-on become a matter of probate record, so there is no confidentiality.
There are asset transfer methods that could be used to facilitate distributions outside of the process of probate. The optimal course of action will vary depending on the circumstances.
We have prepared an in-depth report on the probate process. If you would like to learn more, download your copy.
The report is free, and you can access the downloaded here: Free Probate Report.
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