When you leave behind a will, your heirs will have to wait for a while before assuming ownership of their portion of the estate. Everything has to go through the probate before distribution to the beneficiaries.
Usually, the courts oversee the entire probate process. It involves verifying the will’s validity, consolidating the estate’s assets, and paying off any existing debts before distributing the remainder of the estate to the beneficiaries as per the will.
Why should you avoid probate?
There are several reasons to avoid this court-supervised process. The two main reasons are the time it takes to conclude and the expenses involved.
Probate can get expensive, given the legal fees and taxes your estate may be subject to. For instance, probate fees and the cost of legal representation can take a considerable chunk of your estate, not to mention the inheritance taxes that may follow.
In addition, since probate is a judicial process, your beneficiaries could have to put up with any delays by the court. The process could drag on for months or even years, especially if there is a contest. Your beneficiaries will have to wait before taking over the estate as probate has not been finalized.
How to circumvent the probate process
To protect the interests of your beneficiaries and the estate at large, it is best if you keep your assets from the probate process. Luckily, your estate does not have to go through it.
You can use other estate planning techniques to help you achieve your objectives without the court’s intervention such as jointly owning assets or setting up a trust and naming your heirs as the beneficiaries.
Learning more about the options at your disposal will help you settle on the right method when making your estate plans and securing your loved one’s interests after you are gone.