As you make decisions about your will, you should know about probate and why you should avoid it.
Probate affects the total amount you leave behind for your loved ones and may significantly delay how quickly they receive it. Thankfully, you have options.
What is probate?
Probate is a legal process that serves several purposes: authenticating a will, paying off the debts of the deceased, and distributing assets. When people die without a will, the court distributes their assets in accordance with state intestacy laws. When people die with a will, the court authenticates it and appoints a representative to administer it. Only the property and assets in the deceased person’s name go through probate.
Why should you avoid it?
There are three primary reasons why you should avoid probate:
- Probate fees are often high, and the court can access the money for certain aspects of the process, such as hiring a lawyer for any minor involved.
- Probate is typically a slow process. It can take anywhere between six months and three years from start to finish.
- The probate process is public knowledge. This means that anyone can look up your assets, which could make you a target for people with unsavory agendas.
To avoid probate, you can create a trust. A trust allows you to designate beneficiaries for your assets and pass them on privately without interference from the court.
You create a will or trust to protect your loved ones once you are gone. Avoiding probate ensures that they receive everything without the burden of litigation fees.