Why Would You Want to Avoid Probate?

Much emphasis has been placed on probate avoidance in recent years, and for good reason.  Probate is both costly and time-consuming, while also representing a difficult procedural headache for many families.  Nonetheless, in some instances probate presents some meaningful benefits.  On the whole, it is typically advisable to take the necessary steps to avoid probate, but the following represent the advantages and disadvantages of probate:

Some Limited Advantages of Probate:

No planning: does not require any advance planning

Public Record: in some limited instances, an individual may desire a public record of the distribution of their assets

Family Disputes: probate represents a formal adjudicatory process which may be desirable when family members are at odds with one another over assets of the estate

 

Major Disadvantages of Probate:

Length: typically 7-12 months from death to discharge of the estate

Cost: usually between 4% and 10% of the gross estate

Hassle: length/cost, but also procedure and court filings require ongoing attention

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