Estate Planning Basics: Why Avoiding Probate Is Preferable

When doing any type of estate planning, there are many factors that you need to consider. Determining where you want your assets to go after you’re gone can be very stressful, but it is also very important. Equally important is going to be how the assets are actually distributed. In many cases, they have to go through a legal process known as probate. It is often preferable to have assets avoid probate for the following reasons.

Very Costly

The probate process can quickly use up a significant portion of your assets before they are ever distributed to your loved ones. There are many different fees that need to be paid, including:

  • Executor Fees – The executor of your estate will typically be entitled to a set percentage of the value of your estate.
  • Lawyer’s Fees – The lawyer involved in the probate process will charge a fee.  Depending on how long the process takes, this can add up significantly.
  • Appraiser’s Fees – Many of your assets will need to be appraised to determine their exact value before they can be distributed to your loved ones.
  • Court Costs – Of course, the courts charge a fee for this process.

As you can see, the amount of money that probate will cost your estate can quickly add up. The larger your estate, the more it will end up costing.

Time Delay

Another major reason why avoiding probate is a good idea is the amount of time it takes. When you pass away, the last thing your loved ones are going to want to have to do is work through a lengthy probate case.

Unfortunately, even when there are no disagreements about the estate, probate cases can take months to complete. If there is any legal battle involved, the case could drag on for years.

Family Fighting

Perhaps the most important reason why you want to avoid probate is because it all too often leads to fighting between your loved ones. Everyone wants to get their “fair share” and that can lead to hurt feelings and other problems that can tear a family apart.

Avoiding Probate

Depending on the type of estate you have, probate may not be completely avoidable. Regardless of how big or small it is, however, you can always take steps to keep as many of your assets out of probate as possible. The best way to do this is to start as early as possible and work with a good estate planning attorney who can take steps to ensure your assets can flow from you to your designated beneficiary as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

If you have any questions about probate, or you want to look into how your assets can avoid it, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!