Probate is the legal process of validating a will and distributing the assets of a deceased person to their heirs or beneficiaries. When you leave a will behind or die intestate (without an estate plan), your estate will likely have to go through probate.
It may not be apparent at first, but there are several reasons why you may want to avoid this process. Below are reasons why you may strongly want to consider skipping this process.
1. Probate can be time-consuming
The probate process can take forever to conclude. You may be looking at several months or years, depending on the complexity of your estate. During this time, the beneficiaries may not have access to their inheritance until the probate process is completed.
It can cause financial hardship for beneficiaries who may need access to the assets for immediate needs.
2. Probate is expensive
The expenses associated with the probate process include court fees, attorney fees, and appraisal fees. These costs can add up quickly and significantly reduce the estate’s value.
3. Probate proceedings are public records
Probate proceedings are public records by default. It means that anyone can access such information regarding your assets and liabilities. This can be a privacy concern when you do not want to put your family in the spotlight.
4. Potential for disputes
Probate can also be a breeding ground for family disputes. Misunderstandings can arise over the validity of the will, the distribution of assets or the appointment of an executor. These disputes can drag out the probate process, making it even more time-consuming and costly.
How can you avoid probate?
The good news is that probate is not compulsory. It all comes down to your estate plans. You can achieve your estate planning objectives without putting your loved ones through the perils of this court-controlled process by taking the necessary steps to avoid probate.