Probate is both costly and time-consuming and often presents a difficult procedural headache for surviving family members after the death of a loved one. In some limited instances probate may be preferable—but these are definitely the exception. Overall, it is typically advisable to take the necessary steps to avoid probate altogether and here are the major reasons why:
- Length: typically it takes 7-12 months (or longer) from death to discharge of the estate. In most cases, probate simply cannot be administered in less than 7 months.
- Cost: between legal fees, courts costs, notice and publication fees, probate can cost between 4% and 10% of the gross estate.
- Hassle: length and cost (as mentioned above) and the inherent court procedure, potential hearings and court filings require ongoing attention for several months.
- Privacy: probate is public record, accessible to everyone.