A comprehensive estate plan typically aims to be a number of goals. The division of estate assets upon your death should certainly be a primary goal of your estate plan; however, this should not be the only goal. Probate avoidance, for example, is another common goal of estate planning. In order to understand why your estate plan should include probate avoidance strategies you need to understand the drawbacks of probate in Quad Cities IL.
When you die you will leave behind an estate. Your estate is made up of everything owned by you, or in which you had an ownership interest, at the time of your death. In order to ensure that your estate assets are transferred to the intended beneficiaries were legally heirs the law usually requires your estate to go through a legal process known as probate. In addition to ensuring the proper division of your estate assets, probate also provides a legal procedure for creditors of your estate to file claims against the estate. Depending on the size, value, and complexity of your estate the probate process can take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete. The time required for your estate to make it through the probate process is one of the biggest drawbacks to probate. During the time your estate is being probated most of your estate assets are held up and, therefore, unavailable to the intended beneficiaries.
In addition, there are fees and costs associated with probate. Typically, the more assets included in probate and the longer the probate process takes the higher the cost. The executor of your estate is entitled to a fee for his or her services as does the estate planning attorney who assists the executor, appraisers who are used to value assets, and accountants or other professionals whose services are needed during probate. There are also costs associated with managing and protecting estate assets before they are transferred to the intended beneficiaries. All of these expenses are paid out of estate assets, diminishing the total value of the estate. Money that should go to beneficiaries is spent on the costs involved in probate.
Both the time and expense of probate are reasons why people choose to include probate avoidance strategies in their estate plan. With careful planning and preparation you and your estate planning attorney can develop an estate plan that dramatically reduces your estate’s exposure to probate, saving your family and loved ones both time and money.
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