Monthly Archives: February 2016

Why Should I Try to Avoid Probate?

Probate is both costly and time-consuming and often presents a difficult procedural headache for surviving family members.  In some limited instances probate may be preferable—but these are very much the exception.  On the whole, it is typically advisable to take the necessary steps to avoid probate altogether, but the following represent the advantages and disadvantages of probate:

Length: typically 7-12 months from death to discharge of the estate and many times longer.              In most cases, probate simply cannot be administered in less than 7 months.

Cost: between legal fees, courts costs, notice and publication fees, probate often costs                     between 4% and 10% of the gross estate

Hassle: length/cost (as mentioned above) but the inherent court procedure, potential     hearings and court filings require ongoing attention for several months

Privacy: probate is public record, accessible to any and all

 

While in some exceptional circumstances probate may be desired, we typically plan to avoid it completely.  At Schleiffarth Law Firm, LLC we work with each client to create an estate plan that matches their goals and avoids the time, cost and headache of probate.

What Types of Property Must Go Through Probate?

What property goes through probate?

As a general rule, all property owned by a decedent at his/her time of death is part of the “probate estate.” This means that (unless some prior planning has occurred), in order to be legally transferred to a new owner, property must be administered through the court.  This includes all of the following items:

1.  All property transferred by a valid will (please note: simply having a will does notavoid            probate)

2.  All property not indicated in a will

3.  All proceeds from accounts or insurance policies transferred to “the estate of” or to                  beneficiaries that have died prior to the decedent

4.  All types of property (real estate, bank accounts, personal tangible property, stock, investments, etc., etc.)

 

Probate is an entirely avoidable event. The process is typically undesirable due its time, expense and administrative requirements.  Proper planning, through various methods, can remove all assets from the probate estate, allow for a smooth transfer of a decedent’s property and assure that family goals and intentions are squarely met.

What is Probate?

Probate is, stated simply, the court-supervised process for transferring property to its intended recipients, following the death of the owner. The goal of probate is to transfer a decedent’s (someone who has died) property to his or her heirs or other intended recipients. This would occur after paying debts owed to creditors. The probate process typically involves the following general steps:

1. Hiring of an attorney
2. Opening of the estate with the probate court (filing various documents)
3. Submission of the will (if there is one) to the court
4. Appointment, by the court, of a personal representative of the estate
5. Taking and reporting of the inventory of assets of the estate
6. Payment of debts of the estate and settlement of similar matters
7. Providing legally required notices to the public and to certain individual
8. Distribution of the assets of the estate to intended or legally entitled recipients
9. Order of discharge from the court; closing of the estate

While in some exceptional circumstances probate may be desired, we typically plan to avoid it completely. At Schleiffarth Law Firm, LLC we work with each client to create an estate plan that matches their goals and avoids the time, cost and headache of probate.