What is Probate and why should I avoid having my assets go through Probate Court upon my death?

There are multiple reasons to avoid having your assets go through Probate Court.

The first problem with Probate is the fact that it is VERY expensive. Probate requires Court Fees, Attorney fees, and publication fees that can add up to be very costly to your estate. This is the number one reason people choose to avoid Probate.

The second problem with Probate is that it’s entirely open to the Public. Just like all other Court proceedings, Probate is a public process, meaning everything is available for the public to see. Anyone who desires to, can go to the Probate Clerk and ask for your probate file. This file will allow them to see a copy of your Will, a list of your probate assets, and a list of the names and addresses of the people who will receive your assets. Usually it’s only a nosy neighbor who goes to the Probate Court to look at your file. However, far too often con artists and other people with bad motives get your information so they can prey on your beneficiaries.

The third reason it is recommended that you keep your estate out of Probate has to do with control of your assets. When assets go through Probate they are controlled by a Probate Judge, not your family. While Judges do the best job they can, most people prefer that family members make decisions regarding the distribution of their estate, not a Judge.

The last reason it is recommended that people avoid Probate is the fact that Probate ties up your estate for a great amount of time. Historically, Probate was created to give your Creditors plenty of time to file a claim against your estate. With this in mind, Probate is specifically designed to take a long time. Papers need to be filed, waiting time periods must be followed, and then more papers must be filed. Generally the Probate process ties up your assets for about a year after your death.

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