If you pass on and leave a will dictating how you would like your estate to be distributed, someone has to deposit the will and probate. Probate is a court process that approves the will and makes sure that your wishes are carried out.
However, it is sometimes best to avoid the whole probate process for several reasons, as outlined below.
It can be a costly and time-consuming affair
As mentioned, probate is a court process, and costs are involved. Probate and attorney fees may be significant depending on the size and complexity of your estate. In addition, the process can take a long time since the courts control it. It may end up putting your beneficiaries at a disadvantage since they will have to wait until everything is finalized.
Lack of privacy
Probate is a public process which means that anyone can access proceedings related to your estate. However, some things, especially those relating to family and finances, require an element of privacy that probate does not offer.
Lesser control of the estate
Since the court administers probate, your personal representative will have to seek permission to make changes for some actions. As a result, your agents will not have the control or flexibility they would have otherwise had outside probate administration.
What are your options?
There are several ways of avoiding probate, including establishing a living trust. However, it all depends on your objectives and individual circumstances. What works for another person may not work for you, which is why you need to be well-informed before settling on an estate plan.