Probate is the court-administered process your will goes through before being distributed to the beneficiaries. On the face of it, probate may sound like the right way to handle your estate once you are gone, but it may not always be so.
Here are some of the reasons you should avoid probate.
It is time-consuming
You may have heard that the wheels of the legal system move slowly. Since probate plays out in court, the process is not any different, and things may take time to conclude. It could be months or even years before your beneficiaries get what you assigned them, especially if contests are involved. Within that time, they may not have complete control of the assets you left them.
Probate can be an expensive affair
Depending on the size of your estate, probate can be costly. You are looking at substantial legal and administrative fees and the taxes that your estate may be subjected to.
There is no privacy with the probate process
If you love your privacy, then probate is not for you. This is because such court proceedings are public records accessible to anyone. Your family may attract unnecessary public attention, which you may want to avoid.
What are your options?
There are several options at your disposal if you are considering avoiding the probate process. They include:
- Having joint ownership of property
- Setting up a living trust and putting your assets there
- Making your bank or retirement accounts payable on death
- Gifting your beneficiaries assets to reduce the size of your estate
The method that will work may be different from what works for another. It all depends on your end goals and individual circumstances. Learning more about the pros and cons of each will help you make the right call.