Is Probate Really That Bad?
When discussing your estate planning options, it often sounds like probate is something to be avoided at all costs. While there are many advantages to avoiding probate for some, the probate process isn’t as bad as its reputation suggests. The probate process can be a relatively straightforward and painless process with some careful estate planning. If you have already drafted a will or would prefer a will over a living trust, a Boca Raton probate attorney can work with you to make sure your probate is as smooth as possible.
Understanding the Probate Process
Perhaps one of the reasons why probate has such a bad reputation is that it sounds complicated. Once you get past some of the terminology, however, the probate process makes a lot of sense.
When you die, your will is filed with the probate court. Once the appropriate paperwork is completed, your personal representative will be appointed, and all of the heirs and other interested parties will be notified. At that point, the court supervises the gathering of the estate assets, payment of estate expenses and claims, and finally, the distribution to the heirs. The interested parties have an opportunity to object to proceedings, but both sides will be heard, and the judge will determine the final outcome. For simple or modest estates, the probate process is typically uneventful.
But Isn’t Probate Expensive?
The probate process itself is relatively inexpensive. However, the need for professional services such as accountants and lawyers can lead to significant cost increases, especially if the estate has been mismanaged or the process becomes adversarial. Again, careful estate planning can minimize the risk of an expensive probate. Here are a couple of suggestions that may be helpful:
- Work with an experienced estate planning attorney to draft a will that minimizes conflict.
- Give careful consideration to who you choose as your personal representative – you should name someone who understands this responsibility and won’t be overwhelmed by it.
An experienced Boca Raton probate attorney can work with you to develop an estate plan that minimizes the risk of significant probate expenses.
Probate Takes Less Time Than You Think
One of the advantages of living trusts is that they do not require a court’s involvement, and therefore assets can be distributed immediately upon your death. While the probate process does take some time, it doesn’t take as much time as many people think. The length of time will depend on the complexity of the estate and other factors, but on average, a simple estate will take approximately five to six months to complete the probate process.
Court Supervision Can Be Beneficial
The probate process is conducted under the supervision of the probate court. This helps prevent embittered family members, aggressive creditors, or other parties from overstepping their boundaries to get what they want.
Contact a Boca Raton Probate Attorney at Ellis Law Group
Probate isn’t as frightening a process as many people think. At Ellis Law Group, we help our clients build the estate plan that works best for them, instead of the estate plan that others think you should have. To discuss your estate plan with an experienced Boca Raton probate attorney, call us today at 561-910-7500 or complete our online contact form.