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What are the disadvantages of probate?

There are several reasons why some individuals prefer to avoid the probate process.  To many individuals, probate is a slow, tedious process that generally takes a very long time to complete, depending on the state.  Probate can also be a very costly process.   Additionally, because probate is handled in court, and court matters are public record, the details of one’s estate may become public knowledge if it enters into probate. Thus, the lack of privacy involved in probate can be a major disadvantage.

Below are some additional disadvantages of the probate process:

·         Many estates don’t need third-party oversight.

·         Many estates don’t have disputes.

·         Many estates don’t have debtor/creditor problems.

·         Many estates could close sooner than 4 to 6 months after date of death.

·         Probate is necessarily a public process, and many Heirs and Beneficiaries would prefer that the process be private.

·         The home state (“domiciliary”) probate covers all of the Decedent’s personal property but only so much of Decedent’s real property as is located within that state.  Consequently, an out-of-state (“ancillary”) probate is required in every state in which Decedent holds real property.  This is an expensive, time-consuming, and inefficient process.

By establishing a revocable living trust an individual may be able to circumvent the probate process.  As always, when making an estate plan, it is critical to consult with an experienced attorney.