If you find yourself starting to get interested in the subject of estate planning you’ll invariably do some research, and when you do you will most likely come across the term “probate avoidance.” Let’s take a look at probate and why some people choose to employee probate avoidance strategies.
Probate is a legal process during which the probate court in the jurisdiction that is local to the deceased, determines the validity of the will and subsequently supervises the administration of the estate. This sounds fine on the surface, but when you dig down a little bit deeper you find that there are some negatives that go along with probate.
For one thing, when you’re planning your estate one of your objectives is probably going to be to get your assets into the hands of your loved ones in a timely and efficient manner. Probate can delay things a great deal; it can take anywhere from a number of months to multiple years for the probate court to close the estate, and until this happens your heirs will not receive their inheritances.
In addition to the time lag that goes along with probate, there are expenses accompanying this process as well. The probate court charges a fee right off the top, and the estate executor or personal representative is also entitled to compensation for his or her services. The executor will have to bring in a probate attorney to help guide the process, and in many cases a tax accountant will be necessary as well as an appraiser and an estate liquidation company. Of course all these professional entities must be paid for their time and effort, and this can also reduce the value of your estate considerably.
These are a couple of the reasons why probate is often avoided. To explore the matter further and become apprised of your alternatives, simply take the first step and arrange a meeting with a qualified estate planning attorney.