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Is probate really that bad?

You have heard the horror stories about probate. Maybe your friends have shared about the nightmares they have gone through while attempting to administer a will, or you have seen your relatives struggle through the same process. Did you know that probate does not have to be a "dirty word" in today's legal lingo? Even though most of us want to structure our estate plan to avoid probate, many people's estates benefit from the process. In fact, it's possible that probate will not be that bad, at all. The probate process can actually be beneficial, depending on the needs of your specific estate.

First, despite what you may have heard, probate does not have to take a long time to complete. In fact, for many estates, probate is a quick, simple process that takes just four to eight months in some jurisdictions. In Florida, the average duration of probate is six months. Experts agree that those time frames are reasonable, considering that the process includes the dispensation of every asset held by an individual. In some areas, smaller estates can even avoid probate altogether. Smaller and less-complicated estates, especially those valued at less than $100,000, can likely speed through the process.

Estate planners may also be under the mistaken impression that their living trust will take care of all complications when their estate plan is executed. In fact, many clients acquire assets later in life that they may forget to add to the trust, or something else will get overlooked in the estate plan. A flexible will document can ensure than those remaining assets are correctly and quickly distributed during probate.

Even though probate may sound like an unpleasant experience, it can actually be quite painless. Qualified estate planners can help you learn more about your options for using probate as an estate administration tool.

Source:  www.lifehealthpro.com, "6 reasons why probate isn't that bad" Tom Nawrocki, Sep. 13, 2013

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