If you have never given much thought to the subject of estate planning, you may harbor some misconceptions. It can seem as though a last will would be a logical choice for an asset transfer vehicle if you want to make sure that you keep things simple for your loved ones after you pass away.
In reality, the heirs to the estate do not receive their inheritances right away when a will is used, because the will must be admitted to probate. This is the legal process of estate administration. Estate administration tasks are handled by the executor or personal representative, and the probate court provides supervision.
The probate process can take a considerable amount of time, and this can create difficulties for heirs who may have been depending on the decedent for support. Even if inheritances are not immediately needed, no one wants to wait for a year to receive a bequest, and even simple cases can take close to a year in most areas.
During probate a number of expenses will present themselves. The executor is entitled to payment, and a probate attorney will typically be retained, because probate is a legal process. There will be a filing fee that the court will charge, and there can also be accounting expenses, because final taxes must be paid.
Appraisals and liquidation expenses can run up the tab as well, and in the end, a relatively significant portion of the estate can be consumed by probate costs.
Another probate pitfall is the loss of privacy. Probate records are available to the general public, so anyone who is interested could find out how you decided to distribute your property.
Uniform Probate Code
Now that we have provided some background information about the probate process in general, we can look at the Uniform Probate Code.
Many people within the legal community felt that the probate process was unwieldy, and they wanted to streamline the process. They also wanted to see widespread uniformity.
Back in 1964 work began in earnest on the creation of a code that would be used in all 50 states. The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) worked with the American Bar Association, and a completed version of the Uniform Probate Code was presented in 1969.
The stated goal of uniformity never came to fruition. Only 16 states have adopted the Uniform Probate Code, but North Dakota and Minnesota are two of them.
Learn More About Probate
If you are interested in learning more about the probate process, download our special report. The report goes into a great deal of detail, and it is being offered on a complimentary basis.
To access the free report, click this link and follow the simple instructions: Grand Forks ND Probate Report.