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What are the top reasons to avoid probate?

When creating an estate plan, you can't focus solely on the here and now. You need to think about the future, such as what will happen to your assets upon your passing.

This leads to an important question: What steps can you take to ensure that your loved ones do not face the probate process?

Generally speaking, the best way to do this is with the creation of a trust (as opposed to the use of a will).

Here are some of the top reasons why you'll want to help your heirs avoid probate:

  • Immediate access to cash. With the probate process, your heirs won't have immediate access to your estate. Instead, it can take several months or longer for them to get their hands on what you have left behind.
  • A probate judge can complicate things. You never know what will happen when a judge gets involved, which is why you should do whatever you can to prevent this from happening.
  • To avoid probate fees. As you can imagine, there are plenty of fees associated with probate court, with the potential for these to reach well into four figures.
  • Probate records are public. For instance, if you use a will as your primary estate planning tool, the records are made public. This means anyone can see what you left behind and where it is going.

These are just some of the many reasons to set up your estate plan to avoid the probate process. This doesn't have anything to do with you, as you will be gone by this time, but knowing that your loved ones won't have to deal with this is more than enough to give you peace of mind.

Avoiding probate starts with creating the right type of estate plan. Rather than use a will and hope for the best, learn more about the many types of trusts you can use. When you combine this knowledge with an overview of your legal rights, you can make informed and confident decisions.

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