Hashing out a plan for what happens to your money and property after your death can create some unusual scenarios. You may have one thing in mind, but your estate planning lawyer might open your eyes to the issues with the way you want things done. Your attorney will introduce you to the probate process and explain why the process is best avoided when possible. Consider these three reasons why you want to plan your estate to avoid court.
- Probate Can Drag On
Your estate plan is more than just a will. It is a comprehensive how-to on where your money goes, who gets it, and when. Upon your death, your will needs to be filed with the court where you live. Once this occurs, probate begins. The administrator gives the court a list of all the debts and assets in your name alone. The court then directs that debtors are informed of probate so they may claim owed assets. The administrator pays debts, and once the judge is satisfied, the will is read, and beneficiaries get what is intended. The entire process can last quite a bit of time, especially if an heir challenges the will. Therefore, if your family may need access to cash quicker than just a few months after your death, you may go a different route to getting it to them.
- Probate Takes Money
Depending on the amount of your debt, probate can take a hefty chunk out of your estate. Even if a debtor has a valid claim, many will not settle for less once probate begins. The payment of these debts can take away quite a bit of the money you were leaving for your heirs, especially if you die suddenly. Court costs can really add up. When someone challenges the will, not only is the probate process stopped, but everything that has been done is examined thoroughly. Representation during a will contest can also be costly.
- Probate Airs Your Family Business
The intimate details of your family dynamic and financial situation may come to light during probate. This may not be a good thing if you do not wish the public to have access to this type of insight. You may not want the world to know how much debt you had or how much you were worth. Keeping your estate out of probate keeps it out of the probing eyes of those you do not want to know your business.
A professional estate planning lawyer, like an estate planning lawyer, can provide you with alternative ways to handle your money. Doing this will allow the family to get what you intended before anyone else.