Clients often engage us to help them to avoid probate. They believe among other
things that probate is overly expensive, that it means that the State will take their assets,
or that their assets will be tied up for years.
Generally the cost of probate is about the same as the cost of arranging your assets
to avoid probate.
Generally the State is neither a party to or a beneficiary of the probate proceedings.
Most probate cases are simple and efficient. Complications arise when documents
are poorly drafted, documents are drafted under suspicious circumstances, one dies
without a will and leaves no immediate heirs, and in the presence of various and sundry
other work-creating circumstances.
A probate may actually be beneficial, especially if your beneficiaries, creditors, or
heirs are contentious. First, the probate procedures are designed to be open and above
board, eliminating most suspicion. By the nature of a trust, it often arouses suspicions
against the trustee. Second, if an interested person in a probate has an issue, the
executor or administrator can always suggest that the matter be brought before the
probate judge or may even bring the matter him or herself. Often the mere suggestion
has a calming effect.
The potential expense and delay and the uncertainty inherent in resolving conflicts
before the court often promote settlement.
Certain professionals and sales people use the alleged need to avoid probate as a
sales pitch, often to promote expensive products. Instead of taking such sales pitches at
face value, consider the pros and cons of probate.
Click here to see probate pros.
Click here to see probate cons.