Probate has a negative image to the public. Everyone knows that probate is a delicate, difficult, and time-consuming process. Many estate attorneys will tell you that the probate should be avoided at all costs.
However, this is a common misconception in many cases. It is an oversimplification of the truth that simply doesn't take into consideration the advantages of the probate process. Yes, probate administration is desirable under certain circumstances.
Let's take a look at the pros of probate administration. When is it better than estate planning? Will you need an estate probate attorney to make the process quicker? How can probate and estate lawyers in Hollywood help you?
Let's start with the basics – what is probate administration?
Probate administration is a complex legal process that recognizes, takes into consideration, and appropriates the assets and investments of the departed. Essentially, the probate administration process disseminates the departed's estate to the heirs or beneficiaries, under nominal court oversight.
When a person passes, the probate estate is established along with the legal guidelines in which the home of the deceased lies. This means that during the probate process the laws in the respective jurisdiction are respected. After the probate estate is established, the administrator will step forward and take care of the estate and comply with the specific legislation.
The probate administration process can go forward without professional assistance from an estate probate attorney. However, this is not recommended, particularly if the estate is complex and there are many beneficiaries. Probable successors of the deceased, in-laws or other people can cause immense problems during the process and prolong it. These arguments can slow down the process, and may even block it entirely. In some cases, the process may go to probate litigation and legal aid will be required. Talk to your probate and estate lawyer in Hollywood to learn more about this topic.
Avoiding the probate process - how can the estate remain in the hands of the inheritors?
A good estate plan will help you avoid the probate administration process. You'll also avoid the difficult challenges of the process, the assets will be transferred easily and you'll avoid the pricey probate litigation. An estate plan can help you tremendously when the estate is complex and there are various investments that have to be transferred to beneficiaries.
In virtually all cases, probate administration is required if there was no will or estate plan when the person passed. However, the probate process can be started if the will exists, but it is poorly drafted. Ideally, you should have a good estate plan in order to fully avoid the probate administration process.
The advantages of the probate administration process
Advantage #1 – Creditors have less time to file claims
The probate administration process lets you close out creditors to the probate estate within a 90-day window. If you avoid the probate process, if an individual passes away and all the assets are held in trusts in order to avoid the process, the window is extended to a two year period. This means that creditors can put in a claim on the assets for two years, so your assets can be negatively affected by these claims. You will also have to pay any outstanding debts of the deceased during this timeframe. Make sure to contact an estate probate attorney to learn more about this topic.
Advantage #2 – You can challenge wrongful claims
The probate administration process comes with another major advantage: it provides you the opportunity to challenge the validity of a creditor's claims in court. For instance, if you consider that a creditor is wrongfully trying to collect the debt from the deceased person, the probate process can help you. You will have the chance to prevent having to pay these unnecessary debts out of the estate if the court decides this. Otherwise, you will have to automatically accept these claims. Of course, you can defend yourself against wrongful claims outside the probate process, but it's very difficult and time-consuming.
Advantage #3 – You can settle disagreements
Whenever a person passes away, various arguments occur between family members and friends. Essentially, people usually don't agree over how the estate is handled and how the assets are divided among them. Unfortunately, these disagreements can be serious enough to slow down the entire process. In some cases, the issues can go to court, further slowing down the process. However, the probate administration court offers a very good opportunity to settle disagreements over an estate. Both named and potential heirs can reach a conclusion and discuss their demands. This process is done in front of a neutral judge who can make the final decision when there is a dispute. You'd be surprised, but sometimes it's better to allow a neutral party to decide for the beneficiaries. Make sure to contact a probate and estate lawyer in Hollywood to learn more about this topic.
The cons of probate administration
Disadvantage #1 – Probate takes a long time
This is not always true, but in many cases, probate administration really takes a long time. This is particularly true for larger estates. In Florida, for instance, the probate process can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months. If you want to quickly transfer the property, avoid the probate process.
Disadvantage #2 – Probate can be very expensive
Probate costs about 3 to 5 percent of the overall value of the estate up to $1 million. If the estate is worth more than $1 million, the percentages go down, but the fees are still quite large.
Disadvantage #3 – Probate is public
Because probate is handled in a public court, the details of the estate and the transfer of assets are public information. Everyone can find out about the details of your assets. Even though this may not be a problem for many of us, some clients don't want the publicity that comes with the probate process. If you choose to create a trust, the information is private – no one will know how the assets are distributed.
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