What is probate and what are some reasons to avoid it?

Yee Law Group Inc. > What is probate and what are some reasons to avoid it?

Probate Lawyer Folsom, CA

Probate is the legal process that has been designed by the court system and is required to utilize in the event of a person’s death – and who has no will or only a will. Probate can last between 3 months and 3 years with the average completion time being six months. Although it can be done on your own, it often requires the assistance of a lawyer. A general procedure of the steps of probate are as follows:

  1. The will is filed with the probate court. (It becomes public record) If there is no will, the state takes over and will appoint an administrator to probate the estate.
  2. An inventory of the property will take place.
  3. The property is appraised.
  4. All debts are paid off; including any taxes owed.
  5. The court validates the will.
  6. Any expenses related to probate are paid off.
  7. The remaining estate is distributed to the beneficiaries.

This process can be straightforward or rife with obstacles depending on the circumstances of the situation. It can be avoided by having all of your assets placed into a trust. A will would be needed still for any property that was not placed in the trust, and this ‘pour-over will’ still goes through probate.

Reasons to Avoid Probate

If you ever discussed probate with someone, you might have been told to avoid it if you can. The following are a few common reasons to avoid probate.

The Probate Process Can Be Slow

Probate is often very tedious and tends to require several months of time because it is controlled by the court system. If the estate is complex, or there is a will contest, the process will be significantly hindered.

Probate is Often Expensive

Although the costs of probate vary by state, they are often expensive. First, the court will take a portion of the estate. This could be as high as 10 percent. Money may also be needed for lawyers, to protect the interests; of minor heirs, conduct other parts of the probate process. If probate is avoided, this money might go directly to the heirs.

Probate is Public

Probate is a public process. Any documents and information that are used in the process will become a part of the public records. This means all assets, debts, wishes, and distributions can be viewed by any public member on request. For example, if you are left a significant amount of jewelry, this will be publically available.

What You Can Do to Avoid Probate

The easiest way to avoid probate is to ask a lawyer to draft a living trust. A living trust is private, offers a number of ways to save money, and tends to be more practical for estates that contain real estate and many assets. If your estate is valued less than $50,000, the probate process may be expedited and slightly different than the steps above. In any case, it is recommended that you speak with a probate lawyer Folsom, CA relies on at Yee Law Group about your estate planning objectives and concerns.