While the probate process is meant to administer the assets of a deceased person, there are times when you may want to avoid probate entirely. Below, Douglas Lauenstein, a licensed estate planning attorney, addresses some of the advantages and disadvantages of avoiding the probate process.
What is Probate?
Probate is a legal proceeding that acknowledges a final will and testament and appoints a personal representative to transfer the assets to the intended beneficiaries. This means that following your death, the personal representative has control over when assets are distributed.
Advantage: Can Be Less Complicated When Final Wishes are Simple
While the probate process can be helpful in mitigating disputes when final wishes are unclear, it may further complicate matters when everything is clear cut and wishes are more simple, such as when you have few beneficiaries or little to no assets.
Disadvantage: Your Family Members May Disagree Over Your Final Wishes
Having an estate plan guarantees that your money, property, and other assets are distributed to the intended beneficiaries. However, if you fail to make an estate plan before death your final wishes can be contested. Your family members are already dealing with the grieving process following your death and distributing assets is probably the last thing on their mind. Whether it’s a family member that disagrees with the way another family member is handling the estate or a dispute over the timeline of distributing assets, avoiding probate may lead to more stress and arguments.
Advantage: Generally Lower Costs of Asset Administration
Resolving all matters related to an estate can take years, especially when beneficiaries are fighting. A long, drawn-out process may lead to higher attorney fees and other associated costs of administering probate. Avoiding probate may help resolve matters faster, in turn leaving more of your estate to your intended beneficiaries.
Disadvantage: Loss of Privacy
Probate proceedings are a matter of public record, so if privacy is important you may want to avoid the process.
Contact Douglas Lauenstein Today For Your Estate Planning Needs
Estate planning can be a stressful and tenuous process and that’s why our team is here to support you. We will work with you to design an estate plan that is both comprehensive and suited to your individual needs. Douglas C. Lauenstein, a Baltimore County estate planning attorney with decades of experience, is here to help you and your loved ones through this process. To learn more about our services and the estate planning process, contact us today.