What is Probate, and How can I Avoid It?

probateAfter losing a loved one, the last thing anyone wants to deal with is the probate process. As much as it is not complicated, legal issues can be complex, and it is best to spare your loved ones this process. If you have a large estate, it is necessary to get a state college probate lawyer who will walk through this process.

What is Probate Court?

A probate court is a court in charge of the process of distributing your wealth after your passing. Usually, it is your attorney or estate executor who will initiate probate. The court will determine if the will is valid, authorize the estate executor to distribute your wealth, and pay any taxes owed to the state. If you left no will, there would be an extra administrative proceeding to decide how the estate will be divided. Here, the court is likely to name an administrative officer who will follow the judges’ instructions on how the property should be divided. However, to reduce the strain on your loved ones, get a state college lawyer earlier and write a will stating your wishes.

Why You Should Avoid Probate

With the assistance of a PA probate attorney, the process can be easy. However, most people still try and avoid it as much as possible. Here are a few common reasons why you need to avoid the probate process.

  • It can be expensive. Generally, the probate process involves executor and attorney’s fees plus other administrative costs like appraiser’s fees. These charges can add up pretty fast.
  • It can be slow. There are instances where a case will take years before the court can finalize the estate. This is common with contested wills.
  • The process is public. This legal proceeding is public and whatever is decided in court goes into the public record.

How You Can Avoid Probate

Here are a few ways to avoid probate.

  • Get a living trust. When you want to avoid probate, consider establishing a living trust. Even when you approach state college law firms for an estate lawyer, they might suggest this idea. This is because a trustee who cannot be you control the property. They can therefore distribute it according to the terms stated.
  • Distribute assets while still alive. Instead of giving out your assets to loved ones after you are gone, do it before. This can either help simplify the probate process or avoid it altogether. You will have reduced the amount of property that has to go through probate.
  • Own assets jointly. Make your spouse or child a joint owner of assets. This will make the process of transferring the assets easier without the need for probate.
  • Make accounts payable upon death. Any accounts payable on death will go directly to the beneficiary of your choice without going through probate.

How an Attorney Will Help You

If you want to avoid probate, you need to approach a state college probate law firm and get an attorney who will help you in the following ways:

  • Protect your estate. They will ensure that your wishes are followed and that the interests of your beneficiaries are protected.
  • Help you draft a will. They will help draw a solid will without any loopholes that can be exploited.
  • Speed up the process. Get yourself one of the skilled Pennsylvania probate attorneys. They will help the executor in negotiating the probate process and ensure it goes faster.

When it comes to matters of will and estate planning, hiring an attorney is the right thing to do for yourself and your family. As advised by  Engle Kauffman & VanHorn, having someone who understands how this process works can prepare you and your family, but most importantly, help you avoid it. If you are looking for a probate attorney, reach out to englelegal.com for assistance. Our attorneys will be glad to walk you through this process.