Various parties may have an interest in the estate. These would include family members and others who may be receiving inheritances, and those who may think that they should be receiving inheritances. Creditors would also have an interest in the estate, including the tax man.
Because of these various interests, estate supervision is necessary, and it is provided by the probate court.
Streamlining the Process
The probate process can be unwieldy and somewhat complicated. Plus, there is the matter of uniformity, because each state has traditionally had its own probate laws.
Back in 1964, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) started working on a Uniform Probate Code. The objective was to draft guidelines that would be followed by all 50 states.
The Uniform Probate Code was supposed to streamline the process while creating a uniform playing field.
Ultimately, some of the states adopted the Uniform Probate Code, but most of the states have not adopted it in full. However, the states that have not adopted it do use some portions of the code. In all, 16 states are using the entire Uniform Probate Code.
We practice law in the state of Indiana. The Uniform Probate Code has not been adopted in our state.
When you think about the intentions behind the Uniform Probate Code, you can surmise that the process is a bit difficult to negotiate. Many people who understand the facts would agree, and this is why probate avoidance strategies are often implemented.
There are numerous different ways to get assets into the hands of your heirs outside of probate. You would want to discuss your options with an estate planning attorney, because each case is different, and the optimal course of action will vary depending on the circumstances.
The above being stated, one very useful probate avoidance tool is the revocable living trust. You don’t have to be wealthy to benefit from the creation of this type of trust.
You continue to have access to the assets in the trust while you are living, and you can dissolve the trust entirely if you choose to do so.
After your passing, the trustee that you choose would distribute assets to the beneficiary or beneficiaries in accordance with your wishes, and the probate process would not be a factor.
Free Report on Probate
If you want to learn more about the legal process of probate, download our special report. This in-depth report will provide you with a solid foundation of very useful information, and you can obtain your copy free of charge at the present time.
Simply click this link to access the download: Indianapolis IN Probate Report.
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.