In estate planning circles, the word “probate” often comes with a starkly negative connotation. Indeed, for many people — especially those with larger estates — financial planners recommend trying to keep property out of probate whenever possible. That being said, the probate system was ultimately established to protect the property of the deceased and his/her heirs, and in a few cases it may even work to an advantage. Let’s look briefly at the pros and cons of going through probate.
For some estates, especially those in which no will was left, the system works to make sure all assets are distributed according to state law. Here are some potential advantages of probating an estate:
While probate is intended to work fairly to facilitate the transfer of property after someone dies, consider bypassing the process for these reasons:
Bottom line: While probate is a default mechanism that ultimately works to enforce fair distribution of even small estates, it can create undue cost and delays. For that reason, many people prefer to use strategies to keep their property out of probate when they die.
As a skilled estate planning attorney I can develop a strategy to help you avoid probate and make life easier for the next generation. For more information about your options, contact me today to schedule a consultation.