People often view probate court as a frightening experience. It seems to bring images to mind of an estate bogged down by the bureaucracy of the legal system as heirs wait in vain for the release of their assets. But most estates disputes don’t drag on for decades. Through a simple conversation with a professional, people can often put their fears to rest and get everything in order.
Which Estates go to Probate Court?
Most estates end up in probate. Whether the benefactor has a will in place or skipped on end-of-life planning altogether, passing through court is part of the disbursement process.
Those with a last will in place, however, are at an advantage. When the benefactor dies, the executor can easily take charge of the distribution of the property and arranges for the payment of debts and expenses. Those without an executor, on the other hand, will have to depend on the court to designate an administrator to divide their assets according to the provisions of the law.
Avoiding the Probate Process is Possible
While the probate process is often easy to navigate, delays can leave potential heirs with less than what the deceased may have planned for them. Some options to help prevent a lengthy probate process includes the following:
- Joint property ownership – Upon death, a deceased joint owner can pass on their property and assets to the living joint owner.
- Payable on death accounts – Naming a beneficiary for bank accounts or investments are incredibly simple to set up: banks simply require a person to fill out a form naming a beneficiary to inherit the account balance without going to court.
- Online probate – Companies like EZ-Probate make it easy to preserve family heirlooms by developing an online probate process through ready-to-submit court documents.
- Revocable living trusts – Setting up a revocable living trust means naming a trustee who can step in and transfer all assets and property when a person passes on.
Passing on family assets without the probate process is possible. This way, individuals can ensure that their heirs receive what is rightfully theirs.