In order to look after the welfare of your loved ones after your passing, it is not enough that you have written a will.
You must also see to it that the provisions you have laid out in your will can be carried out in the most efficient way possible. One way to do so is to ensure that your will adheres to estate and probate laws.
What is probate of a will?
The process is necessary as it seeks to prove that the contents of your will are without a doubt, the true last testament of your wishes. By having the courts review your will, the rights of your rightful heirs are upheld through the probate law.
However, in some cases, avoiding probate can be advantageous for your beneficiaries. It is therefore essential to be familiar with probate statutes in your location and understand the .
Here are the reasons why you should consider avoiding probate:
1. The probate process can take some time
Depending on the complexity of your will and your estate, it might take weeks, months or even years to complete the probate procedure.
This is a big consideration if your beneficiaries will not have any other sources of income after your passing. During the time the has not yet been issued by the courts, your assets will be frozen, and your loved ones will not have access to these. Bear in mind the expenses that they will have to pay for, such as funeral costs, property and insurance taxes, utility charges, and other living expenses.
In these cases, family members might benefit from faster and simpler arrangements, such as a living trust. Using these instruments can speed the disbursement of assets since these are not subject to the probate law.
2. The probate process can be costly
Probate can cost a lot of money. Among the charges are court filing fees, probate fees and attorneys’ fees. There are even circumstances wherein the court may use money from the estate to assign lawyers as guardians of minor children or to manage other parts of the probate process.
Even though all these fees are payable out of your estate, it still reduces the assets you intended to leave to your heirs.
3. Probate records are available to the public
Since it is a legal process, the information about your probate procedure will be stored in court records. Per probate statutes, this means that the public will have access to your estate’s documents, including family and financial information. Not only will your debts and assets be available for viewing, but the public will also be able to know how your estate was distributed.
In cases wherein there is a dispute among family members, these disagreements will be made public as well. If you are the type of person who would want to keep this type of information private, you may want to avoid what is probate of a will.
4. There is a possibility that your wishes may not be respected
Since you will be subjecting your will to probate statutes and the courts’ approval, there is a chance that your will could be invalidated. If there is a party disputing your will, a judge may side with them and set forth the new terms for your estate to be divided, regardless of what you have written.
In addition, your executor will need the consent of the court for every action done on your estate during the probate process. Decisions in managing your business, selling or repairing properties, or disposing of assets have to be approved by the court.
That said, there may be times wherein the court, for some legal reasons, may rule against your wishes.
The probate law is a good safeguard for estate planning. It protects the wishes you have stated in your will as well as the welfare of your rightful beneficiaries. Once you understand what is probate of a will, you can then appreciate the advantages of avoiding probate, especially when planning for the future of your loved ones.
? Consider the reasons above in planning for your estate, and in choosing the instruments you will be using to pass on your assets. For most cases and especially in complex scenarios, it is best to consult with a .
Here at Kith & Kin Law Corporation, we offer expert advice on to assist you on the best approach for your unique circumstances and needs.
If you would like to speak with a probate lawyer for assistance in planning your estate, today.