Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person. It involves collecting and distributing the deceased’s assets according to their will, or if no will exists, distribution happens according to state law.
Several common mistakes can prolong the probate process and create unnecessary problems.
1. Failing to plan.
Many people put off thinking about their mortality, and as a result, they do not take the necessary steps to prepare for their death. This includes creating a will, setting up a trust or designating a power of attorney. Taking these steps while still alive can save loved ones a lot of future headaches and heartache.
2. Not keeping good records.
One of the most significant causes of delays in the probate process is a lack of good records. Everyone should keep clear and accurate records of all assets, including bank accounts, investments and real estate. It is also a good idea to keep copies of essential documents like a will in a safe and easily accessible location.
3. Failing to communicate with beneficiaries.
One must keep their beneficiaries informed about the probate process and any decisions. This will help ensure everyone is on the same page before the testator’s passing and can avoid misunderstandings or conflicts.
4. Not following the terms of the will.
Following the will’s terms as closely as possible means distributing the assets according to the wishes of the deceased and not trying to change the terms of the will without legal authority. Failing to follow the terms of the will can lead to disputes and legal challenges.
While the probate process can seem challenging, taking the time to plan ahead can make a big difference.