What is Probate? Can It be Avoided?
When a person dies and their property is distributed, the process is called probate. The attorney representing the estate, or an executor of the estate is charged with initiating the process. The probate court then validates the will and gives the executor authorization to distribute the estate’s assets to beneficiaries as outlined in that will. If taxes must be paid by the estate, the executor is responsible for making those payments.
When there is no will, further proceedings are necessary to determine how the estate will be distributed. When this occurs, an administrator is named by the court. This administrator is responsible for following the instructions of the probate judge. These instructions specify how the estate is to be distributed.
While this isn’t a situation that most people want to be caught up in, help from Heber UT probate lawyers is available. Turning to knowledgeable attorneys is a must because no two probate cases are exactly the same. They can vary in difficulty. Regardless of the complexity, having an attorney from the Gordon Law Group will have a positive impact on the process.
Can Probate Be Avoided?
Because probate can be a long, daunting procedure for loved ones, it is ideal to avoid it. There are several reasons why you want to do this:
- Probate is slow and can sometimes take years before an estate is finalized.
- Executor fees, administrative expenses, and attorney fees can make probate expensive.
- It’s a public process, which means it is recorded on the public record for anyone to see.
As for how to avoid probate, there are several ways. They include:
- Having an estate that is below the probate exemption level, which can at least speed up the process.
- Handing down assets to loved ones while you’re still living so the estate is reduced to an amount less than the state exemption limit.
- Establish a living trust so the trust holds the property. When the property is held by a trust, it isn’t part of the estate. The trust is controlled by a trustee and not you and that person has to distribute the assets in the trust according to the trust agreement.
- Make someone else a joint owner of your property so that those assets are automatically transferred to them instead of sent to probate.
Seek the Proper Legal Advice
The moment you start considering a will, trust, or the distribution of assets, it’s imperative to speak to experienced Heber City probate lawyers. At the Gordon Law Group, we will evaluate your situation and give you the proper advice, so you make decisions that are in the best interest of you and your family.