Wills are an important part of estate planning because they allow you to control what happens after your death. If you die without a will, your beneficiaries may have to go through the probate process to receive your assets.
How does probate work?
Probate is a legal process that helps to distribute a person’s assets after they die. The probate process begins when the probate court appoints a personal representative to administer the estate. This individual is responsible for gathering the deceased person’s assets, paying any debts and taxes, and distributing what remains to the beneficiaries.
The probate court publishes a notice of probate proceedings in a public notice. This means that the probating court must officially record the death and notify potential heirs, creditors or other interested parties about it. After that, the probate court will typically review and approve any final tax returns filed by the deceased person. Finally, the probate court oversees an accounting of assets and distribution to beneficiaries or heirs.
How long does probate take?
The answer depends on a number of factors such as whether there are any disputes over who’s entitled to assets and how complex the estate is. Generally, probate can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more.
What are the benefits of probate?
One of the benefits of probate is that it provides a mechanism for ensuring that everyone follows the wishes of the deceased. This process also helps to protect beneficiaries from unscrupulous individuals who may try to take advantage of them.
Another benefit of probate is that it can provide some assurance that assets will get distributed in a fair and orderly manner. If the deceased person died without a valid will, probate proceedings may result in equitable distribution of assets.
It’s true that the probate process can be expensive, time-consuming and complex. However, it provides several important benefits for beneficiaries. If you have not created a will yet, it’s important to do so as soon as possible to make the probate process easier for your loved ones.