Should Probate be Avoided?

When you make a will, you are creating a document that ensures your possessions and assets get passed on to your loved ones after you die. The point of a will is to make sure your estate goes to the right people based on your guidance and wishes, keeping the state out of your affairs. However, a will still needs to go through the probate process, which can be long and expensive. Here’s an easy way to understand probate and whether you want to avoid it.

Definition of Probate

Probate is the process of dividing and distributing a person’s assets based on their will. It also comes into play if someone has no will. The state courts are in charge of this process and work through the legalities of the will to confirm that assets are going to the right owner. The court is also in charge of paying off any debts before distributing the rest to heirs.

Reasons To Avoid It

The main reason to avoid probate is that it can be a long and expensive process. The more time it takes to figure out what goes where, the more it will cost. Heirs will not have access to the deceased’s property or money until everything is settled, which may leave them in a bind. Probate is also a part of the public record, meaning that anyone can look up the assets and who got them.

Ways To Dodge Probate

If you don’t want to put your family and friends through this grueling process, there are some tricks and tactics you can use to reduce the need for court intervention after you die. Gifting small sums or assets to loved ones before you pass is a great way to give them their inheritance without any fuss. You are allowed to gift each person up to a certain amount of money per year before gift taxes kick in, so consider giving away parts of your property in advance.

Assigning beneficiaries for all property with that option, such as bank accounts, investments and retirement funds, is another way to get around probate. Giving someone joint ownership of an account is also a possibility, though this can result in gift taxes if the other person is not your spouse.

Consider talking to a lawyer to make a solid plan for how you intend to pass on your estate. If you are seeking a probate lawyer in Schaumburg, IL, then a lawyer from a firm like Bott & Associates, Ltd., could be of assistance to you.