Probate helps to determine the wishes of a deceased person. This court-supervised process then pays debt and distributes the probate estate accordingly.
But Is Probate Good or Bad?
Some people believe probate is a good thing. Others consider avoiding probate court a wise decision. Talk to an estate planning attorney from Utah Senior Planning in Utah before you decide on this legal process. Meanwhile, consider the advantages and disadvantages of considering probate.
It sometimes helps to have everything about the probate estate in the public record. Public records and court supervision reduce the risk for shenanigans by an estate’s executor or other interested parties. Beneficiaries can seek help from the court if they have complaints. The process also certifies title to the deceased person’s assets.
People planning their estate often want to avoid probate because:
1. Probate Is a Public Process
Since probate is a public process, its records are public records. It keeps nothing private, and anyone can access the probate court file. People who get your entire file can then determine your assets, liabilities, and beneficiaries.
2. Probate Can Be Expensive
Probate fees vary by state. Consider the situation in states where you own real estate.
In some states, probate fees can sometimes take up to 5 percent of the probate estate’s value. Avoiding probate in such a state would mean more money for your heirs.
3. Probate May Tie up Property
The probate process can take weeks, months or even more than a year. During this time, beneficiaries can’t access the decedent’s money. Avoiding probate can allow your heirs to have immediate access to needed cash.
Probate decisions depend on the state, privacy preferences, and disability planning. Discuss your privacy concerns and the local probate process with your estate planning attorney.
If avoiding probate is an option, decide how much of your estate should avoid the process. Your estate planner can recommend the best ways to avoid probate.