Why Would You Want to Avoid Probate?

Probate is a court process that allows for assets to be distributed either pursuant to intestacy or the decedent’s will.  When a probate administration is necessary at someone’s death, the named executor or administrator must go through formal court processes in order to transfer the assets.  The fiduciary must file various pleadings, such as a petition, order, notice, and inventory, in order for the court to act.  Published notice in the local paper as well as court hearings are usually required.

One advantage of probate is that assets are generally distributed in a responsible manner to the right people, in part due to the rigid process and court supervision.  Despite its common use, probate has a number of disadvantages:

  • Delay – A supervised or simplified probate estate in Kansas cannot be closed until six months have passed after date of death. Although the length of probate processes vary, the average administration takes nine months or more.
  • Hassle – Probate administrations are often a hassle in part because executors and administrators typically have not served in such a capacity previously. They are often learning on the job.
  • Expense – Due to the necessary processes, estate assets are often diminished three to five percent due to probate costs.
  • Lack of Privacy – Probate proceedings are a matter of public record. Accordingly, if someone dies and probate is necessary, his or her assets and beneficiaries are opened up to anyone who cares to see.
  • Boundary Lines – Probate proceedings are only valid in the county where the administration occurs. If someone dies owning assets in more than one county or more than one state, then multiple probate administrations may be necessary.  The previously mentioned disadvantages would be multiplied in this case.
  • Lack of Organization – When a probate administration occurs, the person who knew the most about the assets (the decedent) is gone. Accordingly, probate proceedings often involve an investigative process for the heirs and lack organization overall.

If you are interested in avoiding probate for your estate or navigating a probate estate for a loved one as efficiently as possible, please contact one of Clark, Mize & Linville, Chartered’s attorneys.

Written by:      Joshua C. Howard

Related Practice Area:            Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning and Probate and Estate Settlement