Probate is the court-controlled process a will goes through before distributing the estate to the beneficiaries. It serves to validate the will and ensure that it is executed as per the deceased’s wishes. It sounds pretty straightforward, but there are several reasons why you may want to avoid it altogether.
You probably want your heirs to take over the estate as soon as you are gone, or you want to keep family affairs out of the public limelight. In such cases, probate won’t do the work for you. Here are more reasons to avoid having your estate go through probate.
Probate is slow
You probably know how slow the wheels of justice grind, and being a court process, probate sure does take time. Your beneficiaries could be looking at months or even years to have full control of the assets you left them. Until then, everything is controlled by the executor, who the court tasks with implementing the terms of the will.
On top of that, your estate is subject to various fees associated with probate. The amount could be significant if your estate is sizable.
How to go about it
There are various ways of avoiding probate. For starters, you could establish a living trust and put your assets in it. Once you are gone, it automatically becomes an irrevocable trust and is subject to distribution to the heirs according to the terms of the trust.
Alternatively, you can jointly own properties where ownership automatically transfers to the other party. You could also make accounts payable on death where the proceeds automatically go to your beneficiary without necessarily passing through probate.
Given the several options at your disposal, learning more about each method is best to ensure you pick what best suits your estate.