When establishing an estate plan, there’s one subject important for all testators and grantors to know about — and that’s probate. Probate is the process of certifying someone’s will as valid and distributing property or funds after someone passes away in the proper fashion.
Those new to estate planning have many questions regarding probate. If you’re also curious about the intricacies of probate, here are three frequently asked questions and answers about it.
1. Does having a will keep my estate out of probate?
While possessing a will is better than having no estate plan at all, it’s not enough to prevent probate. However, it does make the probate process easier because you at least have tangible evidence of your last wishes. Keep in mind that probate does expose private information to the public — and it can be expensive.
2. How do I avoid probate so that I can maintain my privacy?
There are a few methods to consider to avoid probate. One way is to create a trust since a trust is not part of your estate and doesn’t go through probate.
3. Is probate always a bad thing?
Because probate can be long and expensive, it has some negative connotations. However, it can come in handy in some situations. For example, a testator might have created multiple wills before dying, and probate can help sort out the confusion. Or, loved ones might contest a will because it was created through undue influence.
It’s good to know what probate entails so you can create your estate plan to gain peace of mind and lessen the burden on your heirs or beneficiaries. If you need more information about how probate works, it helps to seek experienced legal guidance.