Avoiding probate can be a top priority for people who are completing their will or creating estate planning documents. However, it is not always possible to avoid probate, and probate can actually work in your favor if you are disputing a will, trust, transfer or inheritance.
But many people still wonder if the benefits of avoiding probate outweigh the potential drawbacks. Every case will be different, but knowing why people try to avoid probate in the first place can help you assess your options in terms of whether you would actually prefer to go through it.
In general, avoiding probate is something people try to do for four reasons:
- Saving time
- Saving money
- Avoiding disputes
- Protecting privacy
If you set up an estate plan in such a way that probate is unnecessary, it will allow you and your loved ones to save the time and money associated with navigating the legal system. Further, legal disputes can be minimized when probate is avoided, and because probate creates a public record, avoiding it can protect a person's privacy.
However, as discussed in this New York Times article, probate can be critical for making sure a will is legitimate and enforceable. It there are questions or concerns about the mental capacity of the person who created the will, probate can allow parties with a vested interest to address the issue. It also ensures that a court will settle the various issues that can arise when it comes to administering a will, which can be reassuring if you don't trust the estate administrator.
When it comes to the legal process and estate planning, people can be very motivated to keep things simple. However, this is not always possible or in others' best interests. If you have questions about probate or need help handling an estate dispute, then contacting an attorney as soon as possible can be critical.