The probate court will supervise the administration of your estate if you pass away while you are in direct possession of property. The property would be looked upon as probate property, and it could not be distributed to the heirs right away.
During probate the court would examine the will to determine its validity. If anyone wanted to challenge the validity of the will, an argument could be presented during probate.
Final debts must be paid during the process, and ultimately, the executor or personal representative would prepare the assets for distribution to the heirs in accordance with the terms of the will.
Though the process is in place to provide oversight, there are some good reasons why people avoid probate. For one, probate records are kept on file. As a result, anyone who is interested could find out how probate property was distributed.
This can be a sensitive matter under certain circumstances, and in a general sense, many people value their privacy.
People also avoid probate to save money. Probate expenses can erode the inheritances that will eventually be passed on to the heirs.
As we touched upon previously, probate opens a window of opportunity for people who may want to challenge the estate, and this is another potential negative.
Lastly and perhaps most importantly, probate can be quite time-consuming. The heirs to the estate cannot receive their inheritances while the estate is being probated, and this can create genuine hardships for some individuals.
Under ideal circumstances, an estate may pass through probate in perhaps nine months to a year in most jurisdictions.
Probate Avoidance Strategies
If you want to avoid probate, there are various different steps that you can take to achieve this objective. One very commonly used probate avoidance tool is the revocable living trust.
With a revocable living trust, you have peace of mind while you are living, because you control the assets in the trust. You can do anything that you want with the resources, and you can even dissolve the trust entirely.
After your passing, the trustee that you name in the trust agreement would follow your instructions and distribute assets to the beneficiaries. These distributions would not be subject to the process of probate.
Free Report on Probate
We have scratched the surface in this blog post, but we have a more comprehensive resource that you can tap into if you would like to learn more about probate.
You can access our in-depth special report on the probate process through this website. The report is free, and you can click this link to get your copy: Grand Forks ND Probate Report.