5 reasons to avoid probate

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2024 | Blog, Estate Planning |

Probate can be a daunting process that many people seek to avoid. Here in Wisconsin, there are several good reasons to steer clear of probate when planning your estate.

Let’s explore five key reasons why you should consider avoiding probate.

1. Probate is time-consuming

The proceedings involved in probate take a long time, often lasting several months or years. During this period, your loved ones may be left waiting for the resolution of your estate, causing unnecessary stress and delays in accessing assets.

2. Costly fees

Probate can be expensive. Various fees are associated with the process of probate, including court costs, legal fees and compensation to the executor. These costs quickly add up, reducing the overall value of your estate and diminishing the inheritance you leave for your beneficiaries.

3. Lack of privacy

Probate is a public process, meaning that the details of your estate and the distribution that comes after your passing all become matters of public record.

Many people find this aspect of probate undesirable, especially families who prefer to keep their financial affairs confidential.

4. Potential for conflict

Probate proceedings have the potential to stir up conflict among family members and other beneficiaries. Disputes over inheritance, the distribution of assets and other matters can arise, leading to lengthy and expensive legal battles.

5. Limited control

When an estate goes through probate, the court ultimately decides what goes to whom. This may or may not align with your wishes or the needs of the beneficiaries you selected.

By avoiding probate, you can ensure you retain greater control over the distribution of your assets and ensure you have a team who will carry out your wishes as intended.

Alternatives to probate

In Wisconsin, there are several strategies available to help you avoid probate. Some of these options include:

  • Establishing a living trust
  • Designating beneficiaries
  • Making use of joint ownership
  • Rights of survivorship

By taking the right steps now to plan your estate and minimize the need for probate, you can streamline the transfer of your assets to your loved ones, reduce costs and delays and maintain greater control and privacy over your financial affairs.

While the legal process of probate has its place in society, it can be a time-consuming, costly and contentious process that is best avoided whenever possible.

By understanding why you should consider avoiding the process of probate and the many alternatives you have, as well as the importance of taking steps now to secure your future, you can help ensure a smoother and more efficient transfer of your assets.