One of the main benefits of estate and trust planning in Essex and Middlesex Counties is the avoidance of probate proceedings. But what does that mean? And why should you want to avoid probate in the first place?
The main reason to avoid probate is simply that it can be a long, public, and costly process that could have you or your loved ones tied up in the courts for months or even years after the loss of a loved one. During that time, you may have limited or no access to property and funds that you or other loved ones may desperately need. In addition, any probate court proceedings will be made public, meaning the details of the inheritance left behind will be available for anyone who cares to find out. This is particularly significant if there are disgruntled heirs that may contest or object to the court’s acceptance of the will or the appointment of the personal representative/executor.
There are methods available to avoid probate in Essex and Middlesex Counties and wrap up the estate in a cost effective and private manner. Proper planning with revocable living trusts and beneficiary designations can make it so that no assets are held solely at the time of death, meaning those assets will not have to pass through probate. Assets and property held in a revocable living trust are also not subject to the same public scrutiny as those that go through a full probate process, affording you and your loved ones a certain level of privacy.
However, there is a common myth that must be dispelled about avoiding probate – the fact of the matter is that the probate court will still likely have to be involved to a certain extent, no matter what kind of estate planning is done. The difference is how much the probate court will actually be involved – with proper estate planning, probate court involvement will be minimal, typically consisting of light clerical issues that are easily taken care of and payment of the standard probate fee. Contrast this with the probate process when no estate planning has been done, which means a long and expensive process involving lots of red tape, legal fees, and bureaucracy.
If you feel that these aspects of estate planning and avoiding probate fit in line with your goals and you live in either Essex County or Middlesex County, then you should consider setting up a consultation with an estate planning lawyer here in here at the Bernstein Law Group, PC.
Proper estate planning will allow your loved ones to quickly settle your estate in a private, efficient manner with very little interference from the probate court. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about avoiding probate, please give us a call at (978) 825-0033 to set up a consultation.