Probate can be defined as the process of officially proving the validity of a will. This process is often lengthy and stressful and can result in extensive and costly court cases in which the probate court will decide who will become the executor and personal representative of the will. However if you have adopted certain measures, the probate procedure can be avoided.
How avoiding probate can benefit you
There are many techniques that can be adopted that enable you to distribute your assets without them having to go through the probate procedure, including: a joint tenancy agreement, life insurance policies and the establishment of a trust. A trust is a private entity that cannot be accessed or viewed by external creditors. In establishing a trust, probate becomes futile and will not be carried out.
A trust is an effective tool that allows for the protection of an individual’s assets. This is achieved by transferring the legal title of an asset from the original owner to a trustee. The trustee is appointed to manage and administer the individual’s estate in accordance with their wishes. Upon the death of the individual, the trustee is bound to distribute the property to the appointed beneficiaries, in accordance with the terms of the trust (as stipulated within the trust’s deed).
There are many advantages of avoiding probate. In many instances, probate is costly, complicated and time-consuming. Typically speaking, probate proceedings take from nine months to two years to completely resolve all matters and therefore avoiding probate can speed up the process of settling your estate significantly. Wills and probate proceedings are also matters of public record and thus if you wish to keep information regarding your estate/distribution private, avoiding probate through a trust is recommended.