When you make arrangements for avoiding probate, your family members may be very grateful to you after you pass away. Probate is normally required in order for your assets to transfer to the new owners after your death. The process can be complicated, time consuming, and expensive. It can also create an opportunity for your will to be contested, which can result in a protracted legal battle that undermines the value of an inheritance.
There are lots of reasons why taking steps towards avoiding probate can make sense for you and can help your family members to have an easier time following your death. You should speak with a Rochester and Finger Lakes probate lawyer to find out if avoiding probate makes sense in your situation. An experienced attorney at the Law Office of Michael Robinson, P.C. can also provide assistance with the actual steps involved in avoiding the probate process.
Top Reasons for Avoiding Probate
If you are making your estate plan, you will need to determine if avoiding probate is something that makes sense. There is typically more work involved in the creation of an estate plan when avoiding probate is desired. Instead of just making a last will and testament, which can be probated so your assets are transferred, you will need to structure ownership of your assets so the assets can pass outside of probate. You can do this by giving inter vivos gifts, by creating and funding trusts, and by using accounts with joint ownership or that pass automatically to beneficiaries. For example, life insurance proceeds and 401(K) accounts can generally pass to beneficiaries without going through the probate process.
Going through the extra effort to avoid probate makes sense for lots of people because of the significant benefits to allowing your family to skip the probate process. Some of the key reasons why avoiding probate may be desirable in your situation include the following:
• Probate can be a complicated process. Your executor will need to determine what court(s) should probate the will. If you own property in multiple locations, probate may be necessary in different counties or different states.
• Probate can be expensive. Executors often have to pay legal fees for help from a probate attorney during the probate process. Fees can become very expensive if the will is contested. Executors may also need to pay costly fees for professional appraisers or other experts.
• Probate can be time consuming. It can take weeks, months, or even years for assets to be transferred during probate, especially if the will is contested.
• Probate leaves the door open for your will to be contested. If someone successfully contests your will, the court may not enforce the will and your desired plans for your property and assets will not be respected after your death.
• Probate can result in the value of assets declining. Some assets must be very carefully managed. For example, if you have a family business, you want it to transfer to new owners immediately so there is no period of uncertainty which could cause problems with business operations. Since avoiding probate means assets can transfer more quickly, you can eliminate this period of uncertainty or potential mismanagement of assets.
These are a few of the key reasons why avoiding probate may be a smart choice. You should speak with an experienced probate attorney about whether you should take the steps necessary to try to avoid probate or at least transfer as much of your property and as many of your assets as possible outside of the probate process.
Getting Help from a Finger Lakes Probate Lawyer
If you are planning to avoid probate or if you simply want to make sure you have taken the necessary steps to facilitate the transfer of property in a way that makes sense after your death, it is a smart choice to involve a legal professional in your estate planning process.
The Law Office of Michael Robinson, P.C. provides assistance with avoiding probate as well as with the other steps necessary to create a comprehensive estate plan. Give us a call today at (585) 546-1734 or contact us online to learn more.