Is It Worth It To Avoid Probate?

Posted on: 5 June 2016

Part of estate planning is deciding whether or not you want to take measures to help your heirs avoid probate. Taking steps, such as setting up a living trust and using payable-on-death accounts, can help you do so, but it might not be worth it. If you are considering probate avoidance, it is important to know why you should and should not do so.

Why Should You Avoid Probate?

Probate is a process that can take a considerable amount of time. The executor to your estate and your heirs are at the mercy of the court system when it comes to probate. Depending on the court's schedule, your heirs could wait for months before they are able to take possession of their inheritances.

Probate is also considered public. As a result, a public record that is easily accessible to anyone will be made available. The record contains all of the information about the assets that are handled in the court. Significantly valuable possessions left to family members and friends could be targeted by scammers and other criminals who have accessed the public records.

Depending on the state in which you live, probate can be expensive. There is a lot of paperwork involved in filing probate. In addition to paying your probate attorney's fees, your estate would be charged with paying court fees. The assets left to your heirs could be far less due to paying off fees.

Why Should Probate Be Allowed?

Probate is not always a bad process. In some instances, it is necessary to settle conflicts. For instance, if a family member is challenging the validity of the will or the inheritance he or she received, it can be settled in probate court. For the remainder of the family, this can mean closure.

Heading to probate court can also help your estate deal with its creditors. After your executor and attorney file the necessary paperwork with the court, your creditors only have a short period of time to get in their claims on the estate.

If they fail to do so, your estate is no longer responsible for paying those debts. Without the benefit of probate, your heirs and executor could face lawsuits in the future from old creditors.

A probate attorney can help you review your estate and determine what is the best course of action when it comes to deciding whether or not to take steps to avoid probate. To learn more, contact a probate lawyer like Patricia K Wood Atty