Some people talk about probate as if it is an evil that everyone must avoid at all costs. At the same time, many lawyers extol the benefits of probate. The following is an overview of the pros and cons of probate.
Why Probate Is Good
Many estate planning attorneys will tell you that probate is good. Below are some of the reasons for this position.
One of the ways of avoiding probate is to divest your assets via different programs while you are still alive. For example, you can decide to co-own your properties with your heirs, use them to purchase life insurance plans, or create trust funds. Unfortunately, most of these programs mean you don't have complete control over your resources, even while you are alive. You get to maintain control over your assets if you plan your estate to allow for probate.
Another advantage of probate is that it is a public process, which encourages publicity. Each of your heirs or beneficiaries will know exactly what the other is getting or what you planned for your estate after your demise. This is not necessarily the case if you avoid probate.
A further benefit of probate is that it is a well-organized and predictable process. Estate planning laws of your state determine the probate process, and anyone can research these laws. Therefore, if you choose probate, you know exactly what will happen to your estate after your demise.
Enforcement of Wishes
Lastly, the probate process allows you to enforce your wishes after your demise. Actually, this is the main point of probate – verifying that your estate planning documents (such as your will) are valid and carrying out your wishes to the letter.
Why Some People Avoid Probate
Although probate does have its benefits, some people still strive to avoid probate. Here are some of the reasons such people give for avoiding probate.
Probate involves the executor and several professionals, such as lawyers and accountants. These people must be paid for their services. Some people want to avoid probate to avoid paying for such services.
Probate is usually a straightforward affair and doesn't necessarily take a long time. However, the probate process can drag on if the estate is large or the will is contested. This delays the delivery of the assets to the beneficiaries and can also be pretty stressful.
The publicity that comes with probate may be a good or bad thing depending on personal views. For example, some people don't want their affairs to be made public, but the probate process is public. Such people might avoid probate to keep their affairs private.
In short, probate is not necessarily bad. Many people can benefit from probate. However, your estate planning attorney will advise you on what is best for your circumstances. Contact a professional like Robert J. Ameen, Attorney at Law for help.
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