Every year attorneys have the pleasure to updating their knowledge through continuing education. So this week it was my pleasure to sit through two days of extreme detail about probate court. I’m certain you are not reading this because you want to learn all about probate. However, what I want to communicate is that there was two days of material for an attorney (and there could have been more) demonstrating how complicated probate can be.
Even when it is not complicated, it is an administrative headache. An attorney is often required which is frequently the major expense of probate. But the expense is not the only problem. Probate also has many time constraints. Publication and notices are required unless the estate is under $15,000. Which introduces at least one month, if not over six months, of waiting. Opening a probate estate also creates an easy place for challenges and creditors. All great reasons to avoid probate.
Procedures and laws surrounding probate also affect how you plan to avoid probate. One of the laws mishandled frequently is that a spouse is entitled to at least 1/3 of the assets. This is extremely important in blended families when the spouses do not intend to leave all the assets to the spouse. In order to effectively do this a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is necessary.
The other important provision regarding probate is that minors may not receive more than $15,000 without involving the probate court. Essentially, this means a trust is required to avoid probate when leaving money to minors.
If this sounds like something you want to avoid, then learn more about avoiding probate here.