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Saturday, August 28, 2021

Reasons to Avoid Probate

You may have heard that one of the key advantages to estate planning is the avoidance of probate. But what’s the point of avoiding probate? In a nutshell, probate can be a long, expensive process. With an estate plan in place, however, it’s often possible to avoid the probate process entirely. In this article, we examine some common reasons to avoid probate.

A Probate Judge Can Make Things Difficult

Court approval is required during each step of the probate process. Beneficiaries must comply with a number of rules, file several forms, and ensure that appraisals are completed and submitted. In other words, the probate process is complicated and tedious. However, by working with an estate planning attorney to draft an effective estate plan, all of this can be avoided.

Probate is Expensive

Probate is notorious for being expensive. When an estate goes through probate, it must pay court filing fees and probate fees. Even a modest estate containing only a house, a vehicle, and some investment or bank accounts can result in tens of thousands of dollars in probate and legal fees.

All of these hefty fees are deducted from the estate, which means that the end result of probate is less money in the pockets of beneficiaries.

In addition, given the time it takes to complete the probate process, it can take weeks or even months for heirs to obtain access to estate assets, including cash. This means that heirs often end up footing the bill for things like funeral expenses and household utilities during the time it takes for an estate to be probated. For families that don’t have a lot of money on hand to take care of these types of things, this can be a big problem.

Probate is Public

Probate is a public process. This means that all information about a deceased individual’s assets, liabilities, personal representatives, and beneficiaries is publicly available to anyone who wants to access it. Even worse, with many states offering online access to probate files, it’s easier than ever for people to access information about a person’s estate. An estate plan, however, shields such information from public view, providing privacy to the deceased and their families.

Contact a Michigan Estate Planning Attorney

Probate avoidance is one of the primary benefits of the estate planning process. Without an estate plan in place, however, probate is inevitable. And as you can see from the information above, probate has several disadvantages. In order to avoid probate and start the estate planning process, you need an experienced Michigan estate planning attorney on your side. At Keating Law, PLC, we can draft an estate plan that addresses the unique needs of you and your loved ones. If you’re ready to begin the estate planning process, please contact us today to schedule a free estate planning consultation.

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