In Maryland and elsewhere, probate occurs after someone passes away to distribute their assets. These are several reasons why you should avoid the process.
The probate process is public, meaning anyone can see information about it. Anyone can go to the probate court and view probate records about the estate of any deceased person. Sometimes, the court will even make the information available online. Avoiding probate by having a will and especially a living trust can prevent your estate information from becoming public.
It’s supervised by the court
Probate is supervised and approved by the court. It can be frustrating for your beneficiaries to experience this situation. The court is even responsible for appointing a personal representative so disputes can arise.
Creditors get first dibs
After the person dies, their representative must notify their creditors of the death. This is required so that the creditors get the chance to settle the debts through probate. However, this means that if creditors decide they want to take certain assets to satisfy outstanding debts, it could impact the beneficiaries’ ability to get what they want from the estate.
It takes a long time
Probate is a lengthy process that could take several months to a year to complete. If any disputes arise, it can take even longer. This means that your beneficiaries might have to wait for years before receiving their inheritances. This is one of the more compelling reasons to avoid probate.
Typically, the probate process involves hefty attorney’s fees. In most cases, those fees are deducted as a percentage of the estate’s value. Fees could be even higher if any problems require additional services. This can be a burden on the decedent’s beneficiaries.
For these reasons, you should try to avoid probate as much as possible.