Probate is the process in which a deceased person's assets are divided and distributed by the courts. While this process is sometimes a necessity, it is generally something that you want to avoid at all costs.
Avoiding probate is a process which typically requires the help of an experienced probate lawyer. Wondering if you should avoid probate in Cook County, Illinois? Read on for some tips that will help you make the right decision.
Reasons to Avoid Probate
One of the main reasons you'll want to avoid probate is that it's lengthy. Because it's a process controlled by the courts, the duration of the probate process takes longer than most would like.
Probate can take anywhere from 8 months to 2 years or more to be completed. This is a long time for your assets to be within your sole control.
By avoiding probate, you can have your assets passed down almost immediately. Your beneficiaries will receive their inheritances in a timely manner, much sooner upon your death than if they had to go through the probate process.
In addition to being time-consuming, the probate process is also costly. There are a number of fees associated with the process, many of which can be avoided by avoiding the probate process altogether.
At the very least, you will incur court filing fees, attorney fees, fees for a surety bond, unless waived in a proper will, and other administration costs, which can aggregate a material percentage of your probate estate. Even though you don't have to pay these costs, your heirs do. And, because it is a formal court proceeding, it can be stressful to your loved ones.
It's Regulated by a Judge
One of the perceived problems with the probate process is that its determined by the court, applying state law that is written in an attempt to provide "one size that fits all". As a consequence, the process and results may not conform to your family's best wishes, and desired optimum outcome.
Also, the formal court proceeding provides a forum at your estate's expense for others to make claims against your estate. While this process can be beneficial, because claimants must "put up or shut up" within a short period of time, the process can be hijacked and delayed by disgruntled heirs who might have otherwise not done anything to interfere with your wishes.
By avoiding probate altogether, this cost, expense and possible delay is avoided. The estate will be distributed in the way it was designed to be distributed in your trust or other documents controlling the distribution of your estate.
It Lacks Privacy
One key fact: The probate process is a public process that occurs in court . The general public, including any interested news outlet, is afforded the opportunity to examine in detail your will, the financial records of your estate, and how and to whom it is to be distributed.
This is not something most folks welcome. And, thieves, scammers, and other unscrupulous individuals can use these now-public records to target those who have just received an inheritance, trying to rob them of their new assets.
You may be better off avoiding the probate process, preventing everyone except for those in your estate plan documents from knowing where different assets have gone. This will help you avoid situations where strangers can pry into your or your heirs' business.
Looking to Avoid Probate in Cook Count, Illinois?
Are you convinced? Looking to avoid the probate process in Cook County, Illinois? If so, it would be wise to hire an experienced probate lawyer. Interested? The experts here at John J. Pembroke & Associates have you covered.
Our team of lawyers is well-versed in the estate planning and probate processes, with over 30 years of experience. We look forward to helping you.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment!