The court procedure of probate is a part of estate planning that can take up an exorbitant amount of time and money, but it’s sometimes difficult to avoid. People living in Central New York who are wondering if probate is the most viable option should know just how complex and even contentious the judicial process can be. They should also know that there are tools available to them that may prevent the need for probate in some cases.
What happens during probate?
Probate is the legal process by which a person’s last will and testament is proven after they have died. The individual who passed away, called the decedent, is said to have passed away “testate” if they had a will. Probate may be necessary when certain details within the document are ambiguous or if there is a large number of beneficiaries. The more difficult estate planning cases occur when a person dies without a legal will, or “intestate.”
Use the tools at your disposal
Estate planners, attorneys and financial advisors may explain the alternatives to probate. These professionals may provide information on estate planning matters and advice on whether avoiding probate is advisable or not. Some of the most common tools people successfully use to avoid probate are:
- Pay-on-death accounts
- Revocable living trusts
- Gifts to intended heirs
- Property joint ownership
There are many cases in which avoiding probate may be the more profitable option, and there’s an array of tools available to make it possible. However, it’s important to evaluate whether avoiding probate is the best goal. Although there are notable unfavorable aspects of probate because it takes time and money, it’s sometimes still the only way forward.