What is the probate process? Most people know that they should avoid it at all costs. But why? What exactly does it entail?
Let’s start with how you get there. When someone dies and there is property in their name ALONE, it is going to probate court. It does not matter if there was a will- all the will does is direct how property is distributed after the probate process concludes. Even if you have a trust- if you fail to title assets over properly, then you will likely have property that will have to be probated as well.
As part of this very public process, your heirs or loved ones will have to file a petition in the court to open your estate, notify creditors, inventory all of the assets and pay a fee to the court based on the value of those assets. This is just to start. There are several legal steps that must be taken to appropriately and adequately administer the estate. There are also various requirements for providing interested parties as defined by state law, with notice of the proceedings and documentation regarding the assets (whether it’s someone you think should be informed or not). This process causes additional stress on your loved ones and in the end can drain the assets you intend to leave to them.
The probate process is intricate and can be very complicated, lengthy and costly- even with what appears to be a straightforward estate. This is why the estate planning process is so important. Take care of your affairs on the front end so that your loved ones will save time, money and resources on the back end.
Questions? Concerns? Contact our office today to talk about your plan!