You may be under the impression that a last will can facilitate quick and efficient asset transfers. In fact, the executor cannot distribute assets to the heirs immediately after the decedent’s passing.
The executor must admit the will to probate. While the executor will take care of the estate administration tasks, the administration of the estate is supervised by the probate court.
Probate exists to provide oversight, but there are some drawbacks that go along with this legal process. The time consumption is one of the major pitfalls.
The exact duration of the probate process will depend upon the circumstances and the jurisdiction. In very routine cases, the probate process can be resolved in perhaps nine months to a year in most areas.
This time lag can create difficulties for some people, because the heirs do not receive their inheritances while the probate process is underway.
In addition to the time consumption, there are multiple different expenses that can add up during probate. These would include the executor’s remuneration, a court filing fee, legal expenses, accounting charges, and other miscellaneous expenses. Everything that is spent during probate could have gone to the heirs under other circumstances.
There is also the matter of privacy. Throughout your life you have probably conducted your financial affairs confidentially. You don’t want everyone in town to know how you are handling your resources.
Probate records are available to the general public. As a result, anyone who is interested could find out how you distributed your assets. In some cases, this can cause acrimony among extended family members and other people that may have an interest.
Probate provides a window of opportunity for disgruntled parties. If someone wanted to challenge the validity of the will, an argument could be presented during probate. An estate challenge would certainly slow down the process.
Alternatives to Probate
If you want to facilitate quick and efficient asset transfers, you have options. You do not have to utilize a last will as a vehicle of asset transfer. There are other legal devices that can be used that would get assets into the hands of your heirs outside of probate.
One popular probate avoidance tool is the revocable living trust, but this is just one possibility.
Learn More About Probate
We have provided some basic information about probate and the time factor in this post. If you would like to learn more, download our special report.
This report takes an in-depth look at the probate process, and it is being offered free of charge. To obtain your copy, click this link and follow the simple instructions: Hartford CT Probate Report.