Probate is the legal process of estate administration. It is carried out by a named Executor in your will who makes sure your wishes are granted after you pass away. Even if there is no Will at all, probate would still take place. The only difference would be the court will decide who gets which asset.
Your wishes and the court’s wishes may not align. The people who are close to you and whom you love may not receive the assets you want to give them. This is why it is important to set up a detailed will. It is also helpful to learn about the probate process with the help of a probate attorney.
Five things to know about probate
- It is time-consuming.
After you pass away, you would not want your heirs to wait for several months or years to get access to the assets you leave for them. However, when you create a will, your beneficiaries will have no option but to wait for a long time. The probate process can be extremely lengthy and time-consuming as it involves taking care of several complex processes.
Even if there are zero complications in your case, it will still take around six months to reach its end. Complicated cases where relatives contest the will can take years.
- It is avoidable.
If you did not know that probate is avoidable, you are not alone. The average person does not know much about estate planning and all of its aspects. The truth is, there are various ways you can avoid probate. However, states have varying guidelines, so always check with your attorney before moving forward. Always examine all of your legal options.
- Not all assets need to go through probate.
Another important fact is that not all assets need to go through probate. Knowing this is crucial because it saves you time and money. If you and your spouse jointly own a bank account, then the money in the account automatically belongs to your spouse after your death. The money does not need to go through probate for your spouse to access it.
- Probate is not free.
One of the top reasons probate is hated is that it can be very expensive. There are many costs that accumulate during the probate process, such as attorney fees and remuneration to the Executor for their services. There may also be appraisal and liquidation of asset costs. These costs usually come out of the pockets of those who are entitled to receive the assets.