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When Probate Makes Sense: Three Reasons You May Want Your Estate To Go Through The Probate Process

After an individual dies, some estates must go through a court-monitored process that distributes assets to the rightful heirs; this process is known as probate. An estate may need to go through the probate process even if you have a will, depending on the size and complexity.

Probate has received a negative reputation over the years for being an expensive, time-consuming way to distribute one's assets to heirs and benefactors. However, in some situations, it can be beneficial for an estate to go through the probate process. Check out a few reasons you may want probate to be used to distribute your assets.

1. You Don't Want To or Cannot Pay the Costs To Create a Will and Other Legal Documents

There are costs associated creating documents and setting up accounts that are intended to ensure your assets go where you want them to upon your death. If you are short on cash, you can bypass this process and instead let the probate process distribute your estate.

You can expect the probate process to cost money; the exact cost depends on the size of the estate and the state where you live. Instead of requiring you to pay, the funds will come from your heirs' inheritance.

The probate process follows a set of established guidelines when determining who gets what; as long as you find these guidelines acceptable, it is perfectly fine to let probate handle your final affairs. Some people find the thought of making final arrangements for their assets depressing.

2. You Prefer That Your Estate Be Handled Publicly

Though some individuals prefer to keep their estates private, others want the settlement of their estates to be public. Estates that are settled via probate are a matter of public record. If you want anyone to be able to see who you left your assets to, letting your estate go through probate is one way to accomplish this goal.

3. Your State May Have a Simplified Probate Procedure That is More Affordable Than Other Estate Planning Alternatives

Many states have a simplified probate process for small estates or those that only contain certain types of assets. This simplified probate process is usually much cheaper than regular probate. In fact, some individuals find that simplified probate is cheaper than the cost to create a will or set up a living revocable trust.

An attorney who specializes in the probate process and setting up inheritance documents can help you make an informed decision as to which alternative is the most cost effective for your situation.