The process of probate is something that you should be aware of when you are planning your estate. This process comes into play when you maintain direct and sole personal ownership of your property through to the time of your death.
If you were to pass away with no estate planning documents at all, the probate court would step in. The situation would be evaluated, and your estate would ultimately be distributed using intestate succession laws.
When you use a last will to state your final wishes, you name an executor or personal representative. After you pass away, the executor must admit the will to probate.
During probate there is a proving of the will. The court will examine the will to determine its validity. Assuming the will is valid, the executor will pay final debts and prepare the assets for distribution to the heirs.
Probate is in place to serve a certain purpose, but there are some drawbacks that go along with the process. Let’s look at a few of them.
Loss of Privacy
When your estate passes through probate, privacy is lost. Anyone who wants to know how you planned your estate can access probate records. In many counties, those records are available on the court’s website. This is why you often read about celebrity estate planning cases.
Distributing inheritances can be sensitive, so this loss of privacy is a problem for many people.
Consumption of Time
Probate can be a time-consuming process. A simple case may be resolved in a little under a year, but complicated cases can take much longer.
The heirs that are named in the last will do not receive their inheritances while the probate process is underway. This time lag can present difficulties for those who may have been relying on the decedent for support.
Probate is not free by any means. The court charges filing fee that are currently over $850, and the executor and probate attorney are entitled to payment for their services. California law provides for attorney and executor fees based upon the size of the estate. For example, the standard fee for executor and attorney fees in a $500,000 estate is $26,000. On a $1 million estate, it is $46,000.
A probate referee will typically be needed, and a tax accountant is often retained. There can also be appraisal and liquidation fees.
All of these expenses cut into the inheritances that will be received by the heirs to the estate.
Disgruntled parties could step in to challenge the validity of the will during probate. This is another probate pitfall.
Free Report on the Probate Process
In this post we have provided a little bit of basic information. If you would like to learn more about the probate process, download our special report.
This in-depth report is being offered free of charge and you can obtain access through the Reports section this website.
To get your copy of the report, click this link and follow the simple instructions: Sacramento P robate Report.