Should Probate Be Avoided?

A common question from people planning their wills or estates is should they try to avoid probate. It might be seen as a goal that can simplify the process of transferring assets to heirs after someone passes away and can potentially save time and money.

So what is probate? Probate is the legal process through which a court oversees the distribution of a deceased person’s assets. So why do people think they need to avoid it?

  1. Speed: Probate can take time, usually at least six months in Kentucky, and avoiding it can help your heirs receive their inheritances more quickly.
  2. Cost: Probate can be expensive due to court and attorney fees, legal fees.
  3. Privacy: In a probate proceedings some of the financial information about the estate will be in public record.

So should you try to avoid it? Is it worth it? Avoiding probate often requires significant time and effort of careful estate planning, which may involve creating trusts, changing property titles, or designating beneficiaries on various accounts. This means you will have limited control once this is done. You might be asked to give up title to property you own in order to accomplish this goal.

This type of planning also often involves a cost shifting. Rather than your heirs paying court costs and legal fees later, you will incur more cost now to save them later. This usually in in excess of what you might incur simply drafting and executing a last will and testament.

Avoiding probate may not make sense for your unique needs. Sometimes it may not be plausible to avoid probate completely or probate may not be as burdensome as you think in your situation. If you have questions about this contact us to discuss your personal situation and needs and goals. The important thing is to find personalized solution that fits your priorities. We give the time and attention to each client to make sure you have a plan in place that most fits you.

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