Probate is the standard legal process for settling the estate after its owner passes on. It often involves many subsequent stages and transactions, involving validation of the deceased’s will, property appraisal, debt payments, tax-related requirements and distribution of assets within the estate. Because of varying financial and legal complexities, people tend to see it in a negative light, making them avoid it at all costs.
However, this is not necessarily true. There can be misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding probate, forcing people to seek estate planning solutions that may help them avoid it. Still, there is no assurance that these options are any better. Yes, avoiding probate can save time and money in some cases. But it might only happen in specific situations. Other estate planning tools can be equally, if not more, expensive to establish. Depending on the circumstances, other options can also take longer to process.
As an example, trusts can be more costly than going through probate. This tool can come with expenses and extensive requirements that may also have accompanying fees. Some trusts also involve excessive procedures after the grantor’s death, necessitating asset inventory, appraisal and distribution. The trustee must also pay off the deceased’s creditors and file taxes as needed, like probate.
Seeking help when creating an estate plan
The difference between probate and other estate planning tools could lie in features that serve different purposes besides estate management after death. Because of this, seeking legal guidance when crafting an estate plan is crucial. Receiving experienced insight can provide better direction on which options can offer more benefits. Valuable advice from a professional can also help make the estate plan effective in addressing unique circumstances that may arise from case to case.