Curious about why you’d want to bypass probate court… and how to effectively do so? Consider some tips from estate planning attorney Max Alavi.
Three Reasons to Avoid Probate Court
A common misconception about estate planning is that, if you die but you have a will in place, your assets will automatically be transferred to the appointed heirs and beneficiaries. This isn’t necessarily the case. Upon your death, your loved ones may be required to sign certain documents as part of the probate process. Only then can they receive their inheritance.
Having a will in place doesn’t mean that your loved ones get to skip this process. Your will can be a helpful way of informing the courts about your wishes, but your family members will still need to go to probate court in order to claim the assets you name for them.
Why You Want to Avoid Probate
If at all possible, you’ll want to avoid going to probate.. There are a few reasons why.
1) Probate is a matter of public record.
First, there are concerns about privacy. Keep in mind that everything that happens within the court system, including probate court, is a matter of public record. So, in order to claim their inheritance, your heirs may need to supply the courts with personal financial information; that information could then be retrievable by anyone who wishes to request it through the court system.
Now, it’s important to note that the courts do place some basic identity theft protections in place; things like bank account numbers and Social Security Numbers will be safeguarded. But information related to the value of your accounts, or the identities of your appointed beneficiaries could be known to the general public. Most people would prefer to keep such details confidential, which is why avoiding probate is so vital.
2) Probate is expensive.
Another reason to avoid probate pertains to expense. Hiring a probate attorney, paying court costs, handling executors fees… these things all add up, and can potentially cost thousands of dollars just for your loved ones to claim a modest inheritance.
If you want your assets to pass directly to your family members, not to be chewed up by the probate court, then avoiding probate is the way to go. Indeed, proper estate planning can help you reduce or even eliminate these probate costs altogether.
3) Probate takes time.
The timeline involved with probate can vary depending on the state, and on the size and complexity of your estate. With that said, it isn’t known for being a quick or easy legal process. Even a very simple probate case can last for six months or even a full year. What this means is that your beneficiaries will have to wait at least that long to receive the assets you desire them to have.
Bypassing probate can significantly expedite the distribution of your assets, and save your heirs a lot of time, hassle, and expense. Thankfully, there are some estate planning practices that can be employed to do exactly that, including the use of living trusts.
How to Avoid Probate? Hire an Expert Living Trust Attorney
Max Alavi has years of experience as a living trust and probate attorney and can help you design an estate plan that will allow you and your beneficiaries to avoid probate altogether. Schedule a consultation by reaching out to the OC Trusts Lawyer today.