Naperville Estate Planning Lawyer Discusses Reasons You Might Wish to Avoid Probate
In my numerous years as an estate planning attorney, I have helped many people achieve their personal and financial goals through a personalized estate plan. Whether it is drafting a will, trust, guardianship, or other estate planning document, having a comprehensive estate plan puts you in control of personal decisions instead of leaving these important decisions up to loved ones or the state. When a person with a will passes away, that will must go through a formal court process called probate. There are many reasons that people wish to create estate plans specifically designed to help them avoid probate.
The Process Can Be Costly and Time-Consuming
When an individual passes away, the last thing his or her surviving loved ones want to do is sit through a time-consuming court proceeding. It is already hard enough to lose a family member or close friend without this added hassle. Probate is the process through which the court confirms the validity of a will and supervises its administration. This process can take anywhere from six months to three years, and even more in some cases. Generally, the more complex the estate, the longer probate takes. Probate can also be costly. The court can take as much as 10 percent of the estate in fees related to the process. Avoiding probate can help decrease the amount of money which goes to the state instead of being passed to heirs.
Privacy Concerns Regarding Probate
Understandably, many people wish to keep their financial information private. You would probably never choose to publicize your net worth, assets, liabilities, income, and other personal financial information. Unfortunately, probate does exactly this. Because probate is a state court proceeding, anyone can access the information discussed during probate. If privacy is important to you and your family, you should consider drafting your estate plans in such a way that you can avoid having your financial information made publicly available.
How to Avoid Probate
There are several ways that you can reduce the chances of your estate requiring probate. One popular way to avoid it is to create a living trust instead of a will. A living trust is an estate planning instrument that helps you privately pass assets to heirs while also minimizing expenses. A living trust allows you to choose a trustee who is in charge of managing your estate and distributing property to beneficiaries. Any property contained in the trust is not required to go through probate.
Contact a Naperville Estate Planning Attorney
To learn more about what types of estate planning instruments are best for you and your family, contact an experienced DuPage County estate planning lawyer. Call 630-756-1160 to schedule a confidential consultation at the Gierach Law Firm today.