If you’ve chosen to express your final wishes through a last will, you’ll need to become familiar with the term “probate.” This process, overseen by the court, involves authenticating your will, settling any debts, and ultimately, allowing the executor to distribute your estate’s assets to your designated beneficiaries.
At first glance, this may appear quite straightforward. However, the probate process comes with certain disadvantages that might not be immediately apparent. Let’s take a moment to explore a few of these drawbacks before delving into strategies that can help avoid probate.
Costs Associated with Probate
One primary disadvantage of probate is its potential costliness. Throughout the probate process, various expenses can pile up. These can include court costs, attorney fees, appraisal fees, and liquidation costs. Since these charges are essentially subtracted from the estate, they indirectly reduce the inheritance of the beneficiaries.
Probate Is Time-Consuming Nature
Probate is not a quick process. It often involves extensive paperwork and bureaucracy, requiring creditors to come forward and the executor to complete considerable administrative work.
The entire probate process typically lasts between eight months to a year, and during this time, no assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries. For some, this delay can be inconvenient, while for others, it can be significantly disruptive.
Lack of Privacy in Probate
Probate is a public proceeding, meaning that anyone with interest can access probate records and see how the estate was distributed. Many individuals prefer to keep such information private, making this transparency another downside to the probate process.
It’s important to note that some assets are naturally exempt from probate. These include life insurance payouts and assets held in joint tenancy. In addition, payable-on-death accounts are not subject to probate, allowing beneficiaries to gain ownership of the account without court involvement.
The Role of Revocable Living Trusts
One of the most popular tools used to avoid probate is the revocable living trust. When you establish this kind of trust, you can serve as the trustee and beneficiary during your lifetime. You would also name a successor trustee to manage the trust after your passing and designate your heirs as beneficiaries.
In the trust agreement, you can leave specific instructions about how the trust’s assets should be distributed. This bypasses probate, enabling your beneficiaries to receive their inheritance without delay.
Join Us at a Complimentary Seminar
In the upcoming weeks, we will be hosting a series of seminars where you can learn more about probate and estate planning. These sessions are complimentary, so this is a great way to spend a little time to build on your knowledge. Plus, you have an opportunity to make an initial connection with our firm.
Though there is no financial commitment, we do request that you register beforehand to allow us to prepare accordingly. You can visit our seminar page to peruse the schedule and obtain more information.
Book a Consultation Now!
If you recognize the importance of having an estate plan, our team is ready to assist. Every case is unique, so personalized attention is essential, and that’s exactly what we offer.
Our estate planning offices are located in Westport and Glastonbury, Connecticut, and you can book a consultation at the location that works for you if you call us at 860-548-1000. We also have a contact form on this site you can use if you would rather send us a message.