While probate is often perceived as time-consuming and expensive, it serves an essential purpose in estate planning by safeguarding the deceased’s assets and ensuring they are distributed following their wishes. Probate also allows for any outstanding debts or taxes to be settled from the deceased’s estate. Generally, people do what they can to try to avoid probate. Here is what you need to know about Chicago probate and some reasons why you may want to try to avoid it with your estate.
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process of proving and validating a deceased person’s will in a court of law. This process typically takes place in the county where the deceased resided at the time of their death. In Cook County, the probate process is overseen by the circuit court.
When a person passes away, their assets, such as real estate, bank accounts, and personal belongings, are distributed according to their will or, if there is no will, according to state law. The probate process ensures that this distribution is carried out legally and in an organized way. It also provides a platform for any disputes regarding the estate to be resolved.
Reasons to Avoid Chicago Probate
While probate is an important part of settling someone’s estate, there are several reasons why you may want to avoid probate whenever possible.
Probate Takes a Lot of Time
One of the main reasons to avoid probate is the time it takes to complete the process. Probate can be a lengthy and complex legal proceeding, often taking several months or even years to settle. During this time, beneficiaries may have to wait to receive their inheritance, which can cause financial strain and uncertainty. By avoiding probate, individuals can streamline the distribution of assets to their loved ones and ensure a more timely transfer of wealth.
Probate is Expensive
Another reason to avoid probate is the cost associated with the process. Probate can be expensive, with fees including court costs, attorney’s fees, executor fees, and appraisal fees. These expenses can quickly eat into the value of the estate, leaving less for beneficiaries to inherit. By using alternative estate planning strategies, such as revocable living trusts or beneficiary designations, you can minimize the costs of settling your estate and preserve more of your assets for your loved ones.
Probate is a Public Record
Probate proceedings are a matter of public record, which means that the details of your estate become accessible to anyone who wishes to view them. This lack of privacy can be a concern for many families, especially if they have sensitive or personal information contained within their estate. Avoiding probate can help to maintain the confidentiality of the estate and protect the privacy of the deceased person and their beneficiaries.
Contact a Chicago Estate Planning Attorney Today
While probate can be time-consuming and expensive, it’s important to weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks of avoiding probate and work with a qualified estate planning attorney to determine the best course of action for your situation. Contact James C. Provenza & Associates, P.C. at (847) 729-3939 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment to discuss your estate plans.