When you find out the details about the process of probate you may decide that you would like to employ probate avoidance strategies.
If you state your wishes regarding the distribution of property that is in your personal possession at the time of your death the process of probate comes into play. Distributions of these assets to your heirs do not happen instantly.
The probate court supervises the administration of the estate. During this probate period final debts must be paid, including taxes. If anyone wanted to contest the will they could do so during probate.
Your assets must be inventoried and prepared for distribution. This can involve appraisers and liquidators. Since probate is a legal process a probate attorney will usually be called in by the executor or executrix. An accountant may be necessary as well.
The executor is entitled to payment for his or her time and trouble, and all the various professionals that the executor must engage will also be presenting invoices. These expenses can add up considerably.
And, as you might imagine conducting all of this business can take quite a bit of time. The heirs do not receive their inheritances until after the estate has been probated.
Most people would say that time and money are the primary reasons why you may want to avoid probate. However, there is a third consideration.
Probate is an open proceeding. The things that go on during the process are a matter of public record, and as a result anyone can access the probate records.
There are those who would rather keep prying eyes at bay. The desire to keep things confidential is another reason why you may want to arrange for future asset distributions outside of probate.