Nobody likes to think about what will happen after they have passed away, but not thinking about it can actually have consequences that are far worse than avoiding the issue. If you pass away and have not properly prepared your estate, your assets will go through the probate process. Probate is the name for the legal process that distributes the assets of someone who passes away, including money, property, and even debts. That sounds reasonable, right? So what makes it so bad? Check out our blog which discusses four important reasons why you should avoid the probate process at all costs, and why a thorough estate plan is essential to your future.
1. Probate is Slow
Unlike the execution of a will or trusts, probate is a process controlled entirely by the courts. This means the process will usually be executed at a snail’s pace. In theory, probate takes six months, but realistically your loved ones could be involved with the probate process for one to three years. If anyone contests a will, then it will likely take even longer. More delays means more time between your death and your loved ones receiving the assets you left for them.
2. Probate is Expensive
Costs vary depending on the size of your estate, where you live, and a number of other factors. However, probate itself is tremendously costly. Your assets, left for your loved ones, could be depeleted by court fees and attorneys’ fees; fees which could potentially be avoided if you plan your estate to avoid the probate process.
3. Probate is Public
Because probate is handled in the public court system, the process itself is also completely open to the public, and the information used becomes part of the public record. This includes potentially sensitive information such as debts and assets, and who they’re distributed to. Even your will could become public record. This means that literally anyone can do some research and find out what kind of wealth you left to your loved ones, which is now in their possession. It’s not uncommon for people who have obtained assets through probate to become the target of solicitors or scammers not long after the process finishes.
4. Probate Puts Stress on Your Loved Ones
Your loved ones are grieving for your loss, which means the last thing they want to deal with is interference from outside sources. Probate is extremely vulnerable to this, which as discussed previously, could lead to delays, assets not going where you would like them to, and the possibility that your final wishes are not adhered to. It’s not uncommon for family bonds to be stretched to the breaking point after a death, particularly from family who may not share the same bonds with your spouse as you do.
Preparing for your future and protecting your assets and your loved ones from probate doesn’t have to be a difficult process! With the assistance of a Phoenix estate planning lawyer from Taylor & Lihn, PLLC, you can place your assets into a living trust to ensure your assets pass to your loved ones and carefully-chosen heirs privately and with as little expense possible. A trust allows you to avoid the probate process entirely by placing your assets in the possession of the trust ahead of time, meaning your loved ones will receive the assets you intend at the time when you want them to. We also can help you prepare a last will, powers of attorney, create advanced directives, and more.
Call the experienced team at Taylor & Lihn, PLLC today at (602) 900-9860.