You should have a 360 degree understanding of the lay of the land when you are planning your estate. Assumptions can get you into trouble, and you can make sure that you take the right steps if you discuss things with a licensed estate planning attorney.
One thing that you will learn about when you consult with your lawyer is the process of probate.
Many people are under the impression that a last will is the most efficient asset transfer vehicle that you can utilize if you are not extremely wealthy. They assume that the executor can distribute assets to the inheritors shortly after the death of the decedent.
In reality, things are not quite that simple. The executor would be compelled to admit the will to probate, and the probate court would subsequently supervise the administration of the estate.
The probate process is in place to protect potentially interested parties, but it does not always serve the heirs well. This process can take close to a year, even if things run smoothly, and the heirs do not receive their inheritances during this interim.
In addition to the waiting game, probate can also be costly. Assets that are consumed during probate are whittling down the inheritances that are going to eventually be passed along to the heirs.
A third drawback that goes along with the probate process is the loss of privacy. As we all know, financial matters can be sensitive. You may not want everyone in your extended network to know exactly how you distributed your resources, and you may not want them to know the extent of your assets.
Probate is a public proceeding, and as a result, anyone who is interested could access probate records to find out how you decided to distribute your resources.
Lastly, since there is a proving of the will during probate, the court is charged with the responsibility of determining the validity of the last will. As a result, anyone who wants to challenge the will could step forward during the probate process.
This opens a window of opportunity for disgruntled individuals who may want to bog down a process that is already going to be time-consuming under ideal circumstances.
If you are concerned about these pitfalls, you can be proactive about the implementation of probate avoidance techniques. There are a number of different ways that you can facilitate postmortem transfers that would not be subject to the probate process.
The best way to proceed will vary depending on your family dynamic and the nature of your specific situation.
We offer free consultations, and we would be glad to help if you would like to explore probate avoidance strategies. To set up a consultation, send us a message through our contact page: Indianapolis IN Probate Attorneys.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.