What probate is and why you should avoid it

On Behalf of | Sep 17, 2021 | Estate Planning

The probate process in Tennessee can be a long, expensive and tiresome thing for families to go through. It’s usually best to try to tailor your estate plan so that there is no need for probate after you’re gone.

What is probate?

The probate court is a government system for dispersing a deceased person’s assets to their beneficiaries. If a person dies with a will, the job of the probate court will be to verify that the will is valid and make sure that assets are dispersed according to the will.

When a person didn’t create an estate plan or leave behind a will, the job of the probate court is much more involved. The court will have to appoint an estate administrator and make decisions about how assets should be dispersed based on intestacy laws.

Why should probate be avoided?

The expenses of the probate process go beyond court fees. Often, an unprepared estate executor or administrator will need to hire a probate attorney or financial advisor, which will be paid for with money from the estate. The dispersal of assets may have to follow strict intestacy laws and won’t necessarily be in the beneficiaries’ best interests.

Other reasons to avoid probate are the time it takes to complete and the privacy concerns it creates. Since probate is a matter of public record, your beneficiaries’ inheritances could be known to anyone. If you are leaving your children some valuable tangible assets, the public probate record could create security concerns.

How you can avoid probate

Probate can be avoided in a number of different ways depending on the details of your estate. You may be able to avoid probate by setting up beneficiary designations and using strategic gifting during your lifetime. If you have a large estate with complex assets, you may want to set up a trust. Doing so may allow you to pass assets directly to your loved ones without going through probate.

Costner & Greene Attorneys at Law

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