After you pass away, a court-controlled process begins where the court checks the validity of your will and the assets that you control go through probate. Debts get paid, assets get distributed and property changes hands.
But there are also ways to avoid probate. For example, putting assets in a trust means that the trust owns them and so they don’t have to go through probate with the rest of your estate. What are some of the disadvantages of just using a will and allowing probate to happen?
It adds expenses
One thing to remember is that probate can come with fees and other expenses. It may be less expensive to set up a more complex estate plan from the very beginning. With a little planning, you can save your family a significant amount of money. Remember that you don’t want your passing to put a financial burden on your heirs.
It is public
Probate is also public, so all the information about your estate becomes a matter of public record. Many people put assets in trusts or take other steps to avoid probate simply because they don’t want everything they own to be public knowledge. But it has to be public if it goes through probate because the court records can be accessed by a third party if they wanted to do so.
It takes more time
Probate also adds another step, and this just adds more time to everything that your family has to do after you pass away. They have to go to court, they have to look into various types of paperwork and it can take months for them to actually get the assets. But, if you do something like making a financial account payable on death so that it skips probate, then it can instantly transfer into their name.
What’s the best option for you?
Every situation is unique, and these are just a few things that you need to think about when you’re considering probate. Then it’s time to start looking into all of your legal options to determine what is going to be best in your situation. There are always options, depending on your estate, your family and your goals.