After you pass away, your assets and property will be distributed to the beneficiaries named in your will or the state’s default distribution scheme. Following the death of a loved one, most people just want to get through the probate process as soon as possible so that they can grieve in peace. However, the entire probate process can take between 18 and 24 months to complete. During his time, your loved ones can be forced to endure unnecessary stress as they try to obtain access to your accounts and property.
While there are many reasons that your loved one’s time can be consumed by probate, the following are the most common:
Managing important probate matters after a person’s death requires completing and filing loads of paperwork, as well as adhering to structured timelines and strict court-imposed deadlines. Minor errors on a legal form or missing a court date can have a substantial impact on what your loved ones and other beneficiaries are entitled to after you pass away.
Complex Estate Issues
If your estate is complex and features numerous accounts or multiple properties, the probate process will take even longer. With so many assets to identify and value, in addition to the high volume of caseloads and limited staff at probate courts, your case might stall for some time while courts comb through your estate.
Challenges to the Will
Your heirs, beneficiaries, and others in your life who thought they would be named beneficiaries might challenge the instructions left in your will. When this occurs, it sometimes adds years to the probate process.
Common will challenges include:
- The maker of the will lacked the legal or mental ability to sign the will
- The will was drafted under coercion or undue influence
- The will-maker was a victim of fraud
When you pass away, all of your creditors will have to be notified that your estate is being probated. Once your creditors receive this notice, they will be given a certain amount of time to submit any legal claims for debts
How Do I Avoid Probate?
If you don’t want your loved ones to feel overwhelmed by the hassle of probate, then you need to create a trust to hold your accounts and property. If you create and properly fund your trust, then your assets and properties in the trust won’t be subject to the supervision of the court. Instead, the instructions included in the trust agreement will decide how everything is distributed to your beneficiaries. This means your beneficiaries will receive assets more quickly, and the costs and stress associated with probate will be reduced.
To discuss your estate planning options and what else you can do to avoid probate, please give us a call today at (571) 777-1000 to request your complimentary review.