If you have assets that you want to give to a loved one when you pass away, then you should draft a document that outlines these wishes. And you should know that your estate may need to go through probate. Probate is something that confuses and worries a great deal of people. It is something that is often misunderstood, so keep reading to learn about some common probate myths.
Myth: A Will Can Help You Avoid Probate
Most people think that if they create a will that clearly outlines their wishes that this will help them to avoid the entire probate process. Unfortunately, this is not something that is likely to be true. When a person dies, the will is found, read, and then sent to a probate court. This is where the will is examined to make sure that it meets all laws and regulations for the state in which you live.
The probate court will note whether or not the entire estate is included in the documentation and whether or not there is one or several items in the will that are being contested. If there are any issues, then the court will need to make decisions about these things. Oftentimes, if something in the will is not immediately clear, then the property will go to the estate and it will be handled by the executor. In other words, the executor will decide where it goes.
So, you cannot avoid probate altogether when it comes to drafting a will. However, if you do work with a probate attorney or another legal professional to create the will in the first place, then the probate period should be relatively short.
Myth: It Can Take Years to Go Through Probate
When individuals think of probate, they think an estate will be held by the court for a number of years. It is true that beneficiaries do not receive their property right away. However, the property is not kept from them for years at a time. In fact, probate very rarely takes a year or longer to resolve.
In most cases, probate lasts for about 6 months, depending on the complexity of the assets. And the executor of the estate must contact all beneficiaries within about 60 days, and documents must be provided to the court within a few months as well. Once the court receives documentation, then the probate hearing will be scheduled. While the hearing date does depend on the caseload of the court, the hearing will be scheduled quickly in most cases.
We all know that lawyers are professionals who help people interpret and work with the law, but do you know how a law firm works from the inside out? I am a professional paralegal, and I have worked in both large and small law firms during my career. I can tell you that a successful law firm needs more than just lawyers to keep it running smoothly, and sometimes things can get really crazy! Take a tour through a law firm in my blog, and find out what really goes on behind the scenes of an active and successful law firm.