Estate planning often includes the goal of avoiding probate. Why is it so important to avoid probate in Massachusetts? Here are 3 key reasons.
1. It’s Time Consuming
Probate can take up to a year to complete in Massachusetts. During that time, your dependents would not have access to your assets. Imagine how difficult it may be for your family to survive for a year without your assistance. Do they have the resources and means to sustain their living expenses on their own? This is one big reason to avoid probate.
Why does the process take so long? The court must give time for any creditors to submit a claim against your estate. Also, there may be family disputes and claims by previously unknown heirs. The process can be quite complicated, depending on the circumstances. It could certainly extend beyond a year, in some cases.
2. It’s Expensive
There is a cost associated with any court process. In addition to court fees, there may be attorneys involved and costs related to proving a claim against the estate. If a third party is assigned to manage the estate, that entity would require payment as well for their services. Ultimately, the value of the estate would be reduced by expenses related to probate proceedings.
3. The Outcome Is Not Definitive
In cases without a will, state law will determine heirs to your estate. It could be a surviving spouse, parents, and/or children from current or previous relationships. The percentage that each receives depends on the total number of heirs and their relationship to you. It can get quite complicated and may not necessarily be your preference.
Take Steps to Avoid Probate in Massachusetts
Every estate is different,… with some more complicated than others. Regardless of your circumstances, it’s usually best to avoid the probate process altogether to ensure that your wishes are honored and to save your heirs both time and money. Contact us to schedule a consultation and begin preparing your estate plan.