It is common for people to mention probate when talking about estate planning. If you have not heard the term before, probate is a legal procedure in which the courts supervise the collection, management and distribution of a person’s estate after their death. This process can be long and expensive, but it has its purpose. You can prevent your estate from going through probate by creating a living trust rather than a will. However, whether that is convenient for you will depend on your circumstances.
Pros of probate
In probate, the court approves the validity of a will and supervises how the executor pays off debts and distributes the assets of the estate according to the deceased’s wishes. This way, heirs can get reassurance that the executor won’t misuse the deceased’s estate. If the executor does something wrong, the court may ask them to pay a bond to the heirs in compensation. Another benefit of probate is that the heirs can contest the will if someone forced or threatened their loved one to sign it.
Cons of probate
Probate can take several months if one of the heirs contests the will. It is also a costly process that reduces the estate’s value. This is because, in probate, the executor uses money from the estate to pay court and attorney’s fees, taxes, funeral expenses and debts of the deceased before distributing the money to the heirs.
Your right to choose
You can create either a trust or will if you want your estate to pass down to those you love the most. The right estate planning tool for you will depend on your wishes and your circumstances. If you want your heirs to receive your property quickly and as intact as possible, you may opt to avoid probate. However, you must remember that probate also has its benefits. After all, there is a good reason why it exists.