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What You Shouldn’t Believe About the Probate Process

Posted on June 19th, 2022

Probate Lawyer

Probate is the legal process in which a will is proved valid in court. Throughout the years, probate has gained an unpopular reputation and is still widely misunderstood. Here are a few common misconceptions about the probate process that you shouldn’t believe.

Drafting a Will Can Help You Avoid Probate

Some people assume that if their wishes are clearly stated in a will, their estate won’t have to go through the probate process. However, this isn’t the case. After all, probate involves proving the validity of your will in court. If certain procedures weren’t followed during the making of the will, the document may be deemed invalid. For example, if it is proven that the deceased was unduly influenced when the will was executed, a judge may consider the will invalid.

Probate Costs Often Eat Up the Assets in the Estate

A common worry people have about probate is that the costs will drain the estate. Although probate does cost money, the fees are usually a small percentage of the estate. However, the cost of probate can go up if someone tries to contest the will.

Probate Often Takes Years to Complete

This is another common myth about the probate process. The truth is that most estates don’t take more than one year to complete the probate process. However, there are certain situations that can prolong the probate process. For example, if the estate is very large and owes both federal and state estate taxes, probate may take longer to complete. Likewise, if an heir decides to challenge the will, it can delay probate.

Creating a Trust Is the Only Way to Avoid Probate

While creating a trust is a good way to avoid probate, it isn’t the only method for skipping the probate process. For example, you could establish joint ownership of a property or name beneficiaries on your retirement and bank accounts.

If a Person Dies Without a Will, the State Receives Everything

While it’s always advisable to have a proper will in place, not having one doesn’t mean your assets will go to the state. If you don’t have a will, your spouse and children are likely the first one to receive your assets. The only time the state would get your assets is if no relatives can be found.

If you need assistance with probate, contact a probate lawyer, like one from Carpenter & Lewis PLLC.


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