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5 myths people often believe about probate

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2024 | Probate Administration |

Going through probate may leave people feeling stressed. Often seen as a confusing legal procedure, it comes with its fair share of myths.

To combat this frustration, people can learn more about common misunderstandings related to probate administration.

Myth 1: Probate is unavoidable

Many believe that probate is something individuals cannot escape. However, not all estates go through probate. Assets held in joint ownership, living trusts or those with designated beneficiaries typically skip the probate process altogether.

Myth 2: Probate is quick

Some think probate is a speedy affair. In reality, probate can take quite a bit of time, sometimes stretching over several months or years. Factors like the estate’s complexity, creditor claims and disagreements among beneficiaries can make the process longer.

Myth 3: Probate is expensive

There is a misconception that probate costs a lot. While it does involve fees like court costs and executor compensation, the expenses can vary depending on the estate’s size and complexity. Often, the benefits of probate in terms of asset distribution and legal clarity outweigh the costs.

Myth 4: Probate is totally public

Some worry that probate exposes an individual’s personal matters to the public eye. While probate proceedings are public record, not all information is out for everyone to see.

Certain documents, like wills and inventories, are often accessible. Other information, such as specific asset values, usually remains private.

Myth 5: Probate is trouble-free

Many believe probate proceedings always go smoothly. However, conflicts can happen among heirs, beneficiaries or creditors, leading to tense probate proceedings. Disputes over asset distribution or will validity can complicate matters.

Dealing with these issues may be even more frustrating when a person feels rushed during probate administration. Throughout this hectic time, individuals should focus on speaking up for themselves and asking for clarification on anything they do not understand.