The Elder and Disability Law Firm, APC May 20, 2013

If you choose to use a last will as your primary vehicle of asset transfer your estate must pass through a process called probate. During this period of time the probate court will examine the will to determine its validity and otherwise supervise the administration of the estate. The actual "legwork" as it were is done by the personal representative or executor.

Probate does provide some protections because of the transparency that it affords, but that very transparency is something that is not too appealing to some people. Since probate is a public proceeding the goings-on are a matter of public record, and there are individuals who would prefer that their final affairs remain private.

And of course if anyone wanted to contest the wishes of the deceased they would do so before the probate court, so probate opens the door to will challenges. This is another reason why many people choose to execute strategies that enable probate avoidance.

In addition to the above pitfalls, probate can be expensive and time-consuming. The executor or personal representative is entitled to payment, and he or she is going to have to retain the services of a San Bernardino County probate attorney. Appraisers and accountants may also be necessary, and all these expenses can add up to consume a significant portion of your estate.

As for the time lag involved, depending on the complexity of the case and the caseload in the jurisdiction an estate can be hung up in probate for several months or even multiple years. It is important to understand the fact that the heirs to the estate do not receive their inheritances until it has been probated and closed.

All the above underscores why you may want to implement probate avoidance strategies when you're planning your estate. To explore your options, simply pick up the phone and arrange for a consultation with a licensed and experienced Redlands estate planning attorney.

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