If you search the web, you will find many examples of probate horror stories. There are many reasons that probate can turn into a courthouse circus, but this kind of drama can be avoided with careful estate planning.
What is Probate?
Before we discuss the problems that can occur, we need to understand probate. Probate is the legal process of proving the contents of a will. Probate also occurs if there is no will and the court must decide how a deceased person’s estate will be divided among living relatives. Depending on the size of the estate, probate can last anywhere from a few weeks to several years.
There are several issues that can lead to a lengthy probate process. One cause could be if the deceased person’s will had not been updated, and many life changes occurred after the will was created. For example, if a person creates a will naming a spouse as beneficiary, but later divorces and remarries, the new spouse will have to endure the probate process if the will was never updated. Other issues that can lead to difficult probate situations include:
- Poor performance from the executor
- An invalid will
- Battles between family members
- Not listing all assets
Should You Avoid Probate?
With the issues surrounding the probate process, many people try to avoid probate altogether. There are several ways to avoid probate, including:
- Joint property ownership
- Death beneficiaries
- Revocable living trusts
The prospect of causing your loved ones difficulty after you pass is something we all wish to avoid. Proper estate planning can help relieve the burden of how your assets will be divided and how your family will be protected. The safest way to avoid these issues is to place your trust in an experienced estate planner who can assist you in your plans. Turner Law can help you navigate all of your estate planning options and give you peace of mind. Contact us to schedule a consultation.
Posted on behalf of Turner Law, LLC