Every estate planner should be familiar with the probate process, what it is and how it works. Probate is the process of transferring the estate planner’s property after death. Sometimes the process is referred to as probating the will which should include the objectives of the estate planner which they have carefully planned for in their estate plan.
During the probate process, property is collected, debts may be paid and property is distributed typically according to the estate planner’s will which expresses their wishes. The probate process is a court-supervised process that estate planners and families may wish to avoid. Typically, estate planners and family members will want to avoid the probate process because it can be time consuming and result in fees.
The typical probate process involves collecting all the probate property of the estate planner; collecting all rights to income and dividends of the estate planner; paying all debts, taxes and claims against the estate; settling any disputes against the estate; and distributing or transferring remaining property to beneficiaries. To avoid the probate process, estate planners may want to use a helpful estate planning tool and set up a revocable trust or use right of survivorship designations or transfer property as a gift.
Estate planners should be aware of the probate process and how it can impact their estate plan. Estate planning is designed to meet the needs of estate planner when planning for their families. Once estate planners are familiar with the probate process, they can make the best decisions for their estate plan and needs.