Going through probate isn’t something any of us want to do. It is time consuming and costly, and it increases the length of time it takes to distribute your assets.
While probate does have some benefits to those working through a loved one’s estate, there are some significant disadvantages.
The main disadvantages of probate:
- Probate is a costly process – in addition to paying an initial filing fee (currently about $200), probate courts also charge an inventory fee based on the total assets of the estate.
- Costs for probate have to be paid by the estate – the most common way to pay these fees is through the estate, and the total cost of probate is often a significant portion of the overall estate.
- Probate is a time consuming process – the minimum time it takes to open, administer, and close a probate estate is 6 months. However, more complicated estates can take well over a year to complete.
Luckily, probate is avoidable, and there are many options available based on your situation and individual needs.
Why is it so important to plan to avoid probate?
Probate is frustrating to people because it is a long legal process that has to be initiated shortly after the death of their loved one. It takes a significant amount of time, and it spends down a portion of the estate’s assets.
Having to go through probate means there are questions about debts or assets, and those can be difficult to answer, too. A judge will need to be involved, and that means that the entire process may not go the way your loved one would have liked.
Probate holds up assets and prevents them from being passed on when it’s not clear where they’re supposed to go. It limits what the executor can do with the estate in the short-term, and it adds unnecessary extra expenses at a time when a family is grieving and dealing with funeral expenses and other financial challenges.
Avoiding probate is possible with a good estate plan. Having beneficiaries assigned to specific assets and making sure the estate plan is organized could help avoid probate, and all the frustration it causes, completely.
Estate planning can be a daunting task. Unfortunately, failing to plan creates an even more complicated and expensive situation for those we leave behind. That is why the attorneys at Gudeman & Associates work hard to ensure your family’s future is fully protected when the unexpected happens. Contact us today to schedule a free 30-minute consultation. During your appointment, we will cover the different documents and provisions available to build your estate plan based on your family’s needs and dynamics.