When you pass away, there is a good chance that at least part of your estate will enter probate in your state. With estate planning, you can remove as many assets from your probate estate as possible, but only when you have carefully considered all assets and liabilities and followed through with retitling things into the name of trusts, among other strategies.
But this might prompt you to ask, why avoid probate in the first place? The truth is that any number of problems can pop up as your loved ones attempt to navigate the probate process, all of which can take time, energy, and money from your family members during time when they are already coping with grief. This is why most people who recognize the challenges of probate will sit down with an estate planning lawyer to walk through their options for making things easier for loved ones.
While probate problems can be very specific to your assets and your own estate, here are some of the most common ones that you might want to prevent with proper planning:
- No one wants to be the executor, or loved ones argue about who will serve in this role, leading to additional family conflict
- Dispute over the value of the estate or the executor being unable to find certain assets
- Division of asset concerns where people receive equal shares of something and are not able to agree on what to do with that asset
- Someone challenges the validity of the will entirely, slowing down probate and possibly increasing conflict between beneficiaries
Being proactive about these concerns can help you create an estate plan that addresses these issues and makes it easier for your loved ones to move through the probate process.