Understanding The Probate Process -- And When To Avoid It

 

If you leave your assets to your loved ones with a will, everything you own is going to pass through probate. The probate process is expensive, takes a lot of time and is on public record.

The probate court, with a judge who does not know you and does not know your family, stays in control of the process until the estate has been completely settled and distributed. If you are married and have children, you want to make certain your surviving family has immediate access to cash to pay for living expenses while your estate is being settled. It is not uncommon for the probate court to freeze your assets for weeks or even months while your executor is working to make the proper disposition of your estate. Your surviving spouse may be forced to apply to the probate court for support to get access to cash needed to pay the family's current living expenses.

Imagine how stressful this process can be, especially when your family is also dealing with your death. If you plan ahead properly, your assets can pass on to your loved ones without going through probate, in a manner that is faster, less expensive and completely private.

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