When a person dies, his or her assets are going to need to be distributed one way or another, as well as debts paid. While a will is usually there to determine who receives what, sometimes a will is never created. If this is the case, the court will decide how assets are to be allocated.

Why to Avoid Probate

Probate can be slow – Probate is not usually a quick process, as it is handled through the court system. In simple cases, probate can be completed in as little as six months, however it can sometimes take up to a year to be settled. If an individual has a complicated estate or someone in the family contests the will, the probate process can be drawn out to two or more years. Because the probate process can be time consuming, it often creates tension within family members who are named in the will to receive inheritances or other assets.

Probate can be expensive – What many people do not realize is that probate is not free. The court takes a percentage of the estate’s worth to handle the costs of the probate process. In some cases, probate courts need to hire lawyers to protect minor children’s inherited assets. While each state charges differently for probate fees, it is generally expensive to go through the probate process at all; in fact, the probate fee can be as much as 10% of the estate.

Probate is public – Because the probate process goes through the court system, any information involving an estate becomes public record. If someone in the public chooses to, they can search these records to see what an estate consisted of. What this means is that whatever assets were left and distributed is public knowledge. So for instance, if you inherited gold coins from your grandma, people can find this out through public records. The availability of this information can make individuals targets for burglaries.

How to Avoid Probate

While most people instinctively create a will to name heirs, there are other methods of distributing valuable assets and property upon death. Instead of developing a will, a living trust can be established. A living trust allocates assets and property in a private manner that will entirely bypass the probate process. There are no probate fees or unwanted publicity regarding assets and property. When a living trust is created, a trustee is named and will be in charge of managing the assets of the trust. This trustee will notify the beneficiaries of their inherited assets and will allocate as necessary. And because a living trust does not need to go through probate, the process to distribute valuable assets will be much quicker than if a will was used.

Contact an Estate Attorney

If you would like to know more about living trusts, contact the estate attorneys at Clear Counsel Law Group. The attorneys at Clear Counsel understand that your family’s security is your number one priority, and would like to help you create a secure way to manage your assets and property. Call today to set up a consultation.


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