If you don’t already know what probate is, it’s essentially the process of administering and transferring someone’s estate assets after their death. As a probate lawyer explains, if a person dies with property left behind in their name, the only way to have ownership transferred to heirs is for the court to initiate it through the process of probate. However, if you have a proper estate plan, probate can be avoided altogether. Here are just a few of the reasons why people prefer to prevent their estate from undergoing probate at all costs.
Probate is not private
As with any other type of court process, probate is totally open to the public. So anyone who is interested in the estate of the deceased can easily access information online, which contains information regarding their property, family members, and finances. Anyone can visit the probate court or view records, and some courts make these details accessible quickly through the web. If you do prefer to keep the handling of your estate private, then you will want to avoid probate.
Creditors have to be formally notified.
The representative of your estate has to notify creditors formally about your death. The intention of this is to allow creditors to come forward and claim funds from the decedent’s estate. In fact, one of the first steps for probate is notifying all known creditors, and if they want payment, they will have to submit a request right away. After a creditor has been informed, they can file a claim within the time allotted and may be entitled to payment from the estate, assuming that there are assets to pay it and that the will is not contested.
Probate is overseen by the court
Probate is a proceeding that is supervised by the court. And in many instances, before a probate-related task can be performed, the court has to approve it. From appointing the personal representative to approving estate inventory and more, the court will oversee and approve or deny as they see fit every step of the way. As you can imagine, this can cause added stress and upset for beneficiaries who may be in need of their inheritance and do not have time to wait for that financial support.
Probate involves time, money, and delays.
Given the requirements and procedures of administering someone’s estate through probate, it will take up a substantial amount of time, money, and energy, and can result in prolonged delays. Even the most straightforward and uncontested probate process can take several months or a year to conclude. If there are complications or disputes that arise, this can extend the delays even longer. If you want to prevent your family from the possibility of waiting this long for their inheritance, then devising an estate plan that wards against probate is recommended. If you want to know more about how to avoid probate, you can get help from an estate planning law firm, such as W.B. Moore Law.