Most people’s estate plans pass via a probate court when they die. This is standard practice, and it gives people the reassurance that a court is overseeing procedures.
Yet many people choose to create their estate plan so that some or all of the assets they own avoid probate. Why is this?
Probate slows the distribution of the estate down
There is little advantage to a deceased person’s assets sitting in limbo. Yet that is what will happen until the probate process finishes. By using tools that avoid it, beneficiaries can receive their inheritances quicker. While that might not seem essential, remember that some people may need the money urgently to do things such as carry on paying the mortgage on the family home they shared with the deceased.
If someone files a legal challenge, such as a will contest, it will slow the distribution of the assets further. No one will get anything contained in that will until a court resolves the dispute.
Avoiding probate gives more privacy
Do you want the whole world to know what you left your loved ones? When an estate passes through probate, the records are public. Unscrupulous people might target your loved ones if they discover they inherited a large sum from your estate.
It adds expense
Passing an estate through probate is not free. If you can use other means to pass on your estate, you can avoid these extra costs after you die. While the estate should cover it rather than your family, you might prefer that money to go into their hands rather than on expenses.
If you are thinking of creating your estate plan, seek legal guidance to understand all your options.