3 Misconceptions About Probate

Law Blog

Part of the estate planning process is deciding how you want to handle the question of probate. You can decide whether or not to take steps to avoid it. Unfortunately, misconceptions about probate can have an impact on your planning. To help you properly complete your estate planning, here are some of the misconceptions about probate and the realities. 

Probate Delays Settling of the Estate

One of the reasons that some people take measures to avoid probate is that they believe it speeds up the process of settling an estate. What they might not realize is that probate does not necessarily have an impact on the time it takes to settle an estate. 

There are a lot of different elements involved in settling an estate. The executor has to file taxes, send notices to beneficiaries, settle debts with creditors, and many other tasks. Each of these tasks can be time consuming. In the same period of time, the executor also has to file the will with the county clerk's office. Depending on the complexity of the will, it is entirely possible that probate will be complete before the executor finishes all the other tasks. 

Probate Is Not Necessary If There Is No Will

Another misconception that is believed is that if you do not have a will, the estate does not have to go through probate. In reality, there are many steps that are taken in the probate process that still need to be completed. One of the most important is officially declaring someone to be the executor of your estate. Without this, the person you want to handle your final affairs might not have the authority to do so. 

However, if you have a will, it will make settling your estate an easier affair for your executor. It is important to note that the better your will is, the easier probate will be. 

Probate Is Only Avoidable Through a Living Trust

Although a living trust is a popular method of avoiding probate, it is not the only available option. For instance, you could opt to use a payable-on-death account to transfer assets to your beneficiaries.  You could also rely on joint ownership of real property, which would leave your beneficiary as the sole owner after you have passed away. 

An experienced probate attorney can help with clearing up other misconceptions about the probate process. You can also receive invaluable help with creating a plan for your estate. To learn more, contact a law firm like Donald B Linsky & Associate Pa.


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