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What is probate and why do you want to avoid it?

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2023 | Probate

There are many factors to consider when estate planning, including the potential for probate and the effect it can have on your beneficiaries. Unfortunately, many people are unfamiliar with probate and what it means for their estate.

Understanding the probate process helps you appreciate why you might want to take steps to avoid it.

What is probate?

Probate is a legal process occurring after your death in which the court evaluates your will and your estate, then authorizes your estate administrator to settle your debts and distribute the remainder of the estate according to the will. Without an estate plan, the probate process establishes your estate, identifies any potential next of kin and then authorizes estate distribution as the court sees fit.

Why should you avoid probate?

Since probate is a court process, it can delay the settlement of your estate significantly. In fact, probate can take months or years depending on the court’s caseload and the complexity of your estate.

Those court proceedings also create a public record of your estate. That means anyone can access the information about your estate and its value. Probate can also be expensive. With attorney’s fees, executor costs and other court fees applied, it can reduce your estate value and the amount your beneficiaries receive.

Save your family the time, frustration and cost associated with probate by placing your estate in a trust. Trust records are not public information, which protects your family’s privacy as well. Your estate planning attorney can help you establish a trust as part of your estate plan.