Probate has developed something of a reputation as a process you should try to avoid in your estate planning. Why would you want to avoid probate? Well, there are three major downsides to probate. It is public, time consuming, and expensive. Let us go into more detail in regard to the downsides of probate.

Probate proceedings are court supervised. It is a matter of public record which means that the public has access to information, such as what assets are held in an estate and who is set to inherit what from the estate. Many personal choices and financial issues that you may want to remain private will become public during probate. This is one reason why many people choose to structure and arrange asset transfers so they take place outside of probate.

Additionally, probate is time consuming. It can take up to a year, and sometimes even longer, to complete the probate process. The beneficiaries of an estate must wait to receive their inheritance until a number of other things have taken place. For instance, the assets of the estate must be gathered, inventoried, and managed. Creditors must be put on notice of the probate proceedings. Valid credit obligations must be paid. Probate can take even longer when assets of an estate are particularly complex, a personal representative fails to timely execute required steps in the process, or family contentions lead to objections and will contests.

If the lack of privacy and the time consumption were not enough of a reason to try and avoid probate, then the potential cost of probate may certainly be a deciding factor. Probate can be expensive. As a probate fee, the court will take a portion of the gross estate, which is the amount of the estate that is left by the decedent prior to debt repayment. The probate court is also authorized to use money from the estate for other things in the administration process, such as assigning an attorney to protect the interests of a minor heir.

Are you interested in having your estate avoid probate? Do you need assistance with the probate process? Our office can assist with both. Please contact our office to schedule a meeting time.