There are some myths that circulate with regard to estate planning and last wills. Most people have heard of the role of the executor. An executor is someone who handles the administration of the estate after an individual passes away. Many people assume that there is a “reading of the will,” and after it is read among family members, the executor can distribute assets more or less immediately.
In reality, things do not work in this manner. There is a legal process called probate that enters the picture.
The estate executor would be required to admit the will to probate under state laws. It would be up to the probate court to supervise the administration of the estate. The will would be examined to determine its validity, and the executor would be required to notify creditors. They would be given a certain amount of time to come forward.
Ultimately, the executor would prepare the assets for distribution among the heirs in accordance with the wishes of the decedent. If you think about it logically, an estate can be comprised of a great deal of property that is in different forms. Liquidation of the property can be complicated and time-consuming.
The exact duration of the probate process will vary depending on the precise nature of the circumstances. In a case that is especially simple and straightforward, the process can run its course in perhaps nine months to a year. The more complicated cases can take considerably longer.
This time lag is significant, because the heirs to the estate cannot receive their inheritances while the estate is being probated by the court. For some people, this can cause genuine hardships, and even if you do not necessarily need the money right away, no one wants to wait for a year to receive a rightful inheritance.
It is possible to keep the probate process and the time lag in mind when you are planning your estate. You could proactively implement probate avoidance strategies so that your heirs could receive their inheritances in a timely manner.
One tool that is often used by people who want to facilitate asset transfers outside of probate is the revocable living trust. With this type of trust, you maintain control while you are living. After you die, the trustee could distribute assets from the trust to the beneficiaries free of the probate process.
Learn More About Probate
If you would like to obtain more detailed information about probate and probate avoidance strategies, download our in-depth special report. This report goes into a great deal of detail, and it will give you a solid foundation of information to work with going forward.
Simply visit this page to access your copy: Free Report on the Probate Process.
- Estate Planning: Separate Fact From Fiction - December 2, 2021
- Neither Age Nor Health Determines Whether You Need an Estate Plan - December 1, 2021
- What Are the Responsibilities of a Fiduciary? - November 30, 2021