Avoiding probate is one of the key reasons why many people talk with a Miami estate planning attorney. Probate proceedings are the usual method of transferring assets after a death. The proceedings can be time consuming, expensive, and difficult for heirs or beneficiaries to cope with.
Probate can be avoided using a variety of tools including trusts that facilitate the passage of assets through the trust administration process; pay-on-death accounts that allow assets to be transferred to a designated beneficiary; and joint ownership with rights of survivorship as a method of owning property that allows the property to immediately transfer to a surviving owner.
To decide whether it is worth it to make a comprehensive estate plan to avoid probate, it’s best to understand what the biggest benefits of probate avoidance are.
What are the Biggest Benefits of Avoiding Probate?
While your reasons for avoiding probate are going to be personal and specific to your situation, some common advantages that many people benefit from by making a probate avoidance plan include:
- A more timely wealth transfer: Probate takes months to complete, even in a best case scenario. When issues arise or the estate is complex, probate could take years. If assets can transfer through other means, such as trust administration, the process should go much more quickly.
- A less costly transfer of wealth: The estimated costs of probate proceedings are typically around three percent to seven percent of the value of the estate being transferred. This can be a substantial sum of money. It’s very common for those individuals making a estate plan to want to avoid fees associated with probate court proceedings and thus to determine a probate avoidance plan is essential.
- An easier transfer of assets: Going to court in the aftermath of a loved one’s death is not fun for anyone involved. Transferring assets through other means outside of the probate process can spare your loved ones from having to address complicated legal issues associated with appearing in court hearings.
- Increased privacy: Since probate proceedings occur in court, the public can often obtain information by attending hearings or reviewing court records. In many cases, families prefer for the transfer of wealth to be much more private. Facilitating money and property moving to new owners through other means such as trust administration will eliminate the need for legal proceedings for which public records are created – unless a problem arises.
- Reduced likelihood of a successful contest: When a will is contested, it is possible the court will determine it’s not valid and thus won’t be probated. Although other means of transferring assets after death – such as trust administration – can sometimes lead to the deceased’s wishes being contested, the likelihood of a challenge prevailing is smaller due to the ongoing involvement most trust creators have with the trust during their lifetimes.
A Miami estate planning attorney will assist you in determining if you should try to avoid probate and will guide you through the process of putting a comprehensive plan in place to transfer your wealth through other means. Contact an attorney today to learn more.