After someone dies, their loved ones go through a lot, emotionally, mentally and even physically. The grieving process is difficult and when legal issues come into play, this time can be even harder.
The court-supervised process of distributing and overseeing a person’s property and estate, called probate, can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. Your loved ones will have to endure this complex legal process while coping with grief, unless you make plans to avoid it.
What Is Probate?
Distributing and overseeing a person’s estate after their death is an involved process. It involves many steps including but not limited to:
- Authenticating will
- Identifying and inventorying property
- Valuing all property
- Notifying all heirs and family members
- Filing paperwork and paying creditors
- Distributing property
This process can last anywhere from two years to several decades, depending on the size of your estate and any contests or legal troubles involved. However, you can take steps now to help your family avoid part or all of the process.
How To Avoid Probate With Estate Planning
There are several ways around the probate process, some of which you can begin to plan out now. Estate planning should be an important part of everyone’s lives, and this process can help you and your loved ones avoid probate through several different methods such as:
- Joint property ownership
- Death beneficiaries
- Revocable living trusts
Each of these methods helps you distribute your property and assets prior to your death, so it is not involved in the probate process. This can simplify and shorten probate, depending on how thoroughly you plan.
The probate process can take an emotional and mental toll on your loved ones, while they try to cope with loss. Taking steps now to avoid this process can help your family focus on what’s most important after losing a loved one.