Five Things You Need to Know About the Probate Process

probate courtPeople sometimes harbor misconceptions about last wills. You may assume that a last will is the simplest and most efficient asset transfer vehicle.

In fact, things are a little more complicated than they may seem to be on the surface. If you maintain direct and sole personal possession of property through to the time of your death, it becomes probate property at first.

The executor or personal representative that you name to administer your estate must admit the will to probate. There will then be a proving of the will. The probate court will determine whether or not the will is actually valid, and the administration of the estate will take place under the supervision of the court.

Though probate is in place to provide oversight, there are a number of significant drawbacks that go along with the process. We will look at five things you need to know about probate in this blog post.

1) It’s an open proceeding.

When you are going through life, you value your privacy on a number of different levels. You certainly do not want everyone in town to know how you spend or invest your money.

Probate is an open proceeding. As a result, anyone who is interested could access probate records to find out exactly how you decided to distribute your assets.

This loss of privacy can be disconcerting in a general sense, but too much information can potentially cause acrimony among interested parties.

2) The window is open for estate challenges.

If someone was not happy about the way that you planned your estate, this disgruntled individual could challenge the estate during probate. This is something to take into consideration if you are aware of the fact that there could be people who are not going to be happy with the decisions that you made.

3) It can take a lot of time.

You probably want your loved ones to receive their inheritances in a timely manner. This won’t happen when probate is a factor.

The process of probate can be quite time consuming. The simplest of cases will pass through probate in a little bit less than a year in most jurisdictions. More complicated situations can take multiple years.

The heirs do not receive their inheritances while the probate process is underway, and this can be a problem for many people. Nobody wants to wait for a rightful inheritance, but there could be people who suffer financial hardships due to the time lag.

4) It can cost a lot of money.

The final drawback that we would like to touch upon is the matter of money. There are a number of different expenses that accumulate during the probate process.

The executor that is handling the estate administration tasks is entitled to payment for his or her time and effort. Because probate is a legal process, a probate attorney is typically going to be retained by the executor.

Final bills must be paid during the probate process, including taxes, so a tax accountant may be brought in. There can also be appraisal and liquidation expenses and other miscellaneous costs.

Whatever is spent during probate is coming out of the inheritances that will eventually be received by the heirs to the estate.

5) You can avoid it!

It is possible to get assets into the hands of your loved ones and avoid the probate process. process of probate. The ideal course of action will vary depending upon the circumstances.

Revocable living trusts are very commonly used by people who want to avoid probate. You do not have to be wealthy to benefit from this type of trust.

While you are alive and well you control the actions of the trust. After you die, the trustee that you name in the trust agreement will follow your instructions and distribute assets to the beneficiaries.

These distributions would not be subject to the probate process.

Learn More

If you explore our website, you can find a great deal of useful information in many different forms. We update this blog regularly, and we urge you to bookmark the page so that you can always keep yourself informed as things change.

In addition to the blog, we have also devoted resources to the preparation of a series of in-depth special reports. These reports cover many different topics that are of interest to people who are looking ahead toward the future.

One of our reports puts the process of probate under the microscope. This report is being offered free of charge right now, and you can access your copy if you click the following link: Free Probate Report.

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Take action before it becomes a race against time.

Rely on the Barbara M. Pizzolato, P.A. skilled estate team to shield your work and guide your loved ones.

We specialize in estate planning, incapacity planning, business planning, trust administration, and probate.

Take your first step by contacting us or attending a free estate planning event today.

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