One of the things that a solid estate plan can do for you is to help keep your property out of probate when you pass away. Why is this such a big deal?
- Probate Can Be a Time-Consuming Process. Probate is the court-administered way that property owned by you, individually, is transferred to your heirs or beneficiaries after your death. And, court-administered does not always mean efficient. Especially if you have a large estate, or there’s conflict surrounding the probate process, your property could be out of your loved ones’ reach for an extended period of time.
- Probate Can Be Expensive. Because probate is a court proceeding, it involves court costs and lawyer’s fees. And, these fees only increase in situations where there’s a dispute over your will or an argument over a creditor’s claim.
- If You Have No Will, The State Controls Your Property. Dying with a will means your property has to go through probate before it can pass to the loved ones named in your will. Depending on your situation, this can be unpleasant enough. But, if you pass away without a will, your property still has to go through probate. The difference? Without a will, your property passes to your family on the basis of state law. And, without a will, there can be more of a chance for conflict and turmoil surrounding the Probate process.
- Probate is Public. When your estate goes through probate, your will is filed in court. And, even if you don’t have a will, there’s paperwork submitted to the court detailing your assets and your heirs. Once this information is filed with the court, in most situations, it’s available to the public. If you want to keep the details of your estate private, you’ll need a plan that lets you avoid probate.