Common Misconceptions About Probate
To put it simply: probate is complex. Creditors, executors, beneficiaries, heirs, liquidators, and many other parties involved can make this process seem overly complicated and cause a great deal of stress. It’s no wonder that an area of complex law such as probate has a high rate of misconceptions that people still believe.
Like any other complex area of law, there are always going to be common misunderstandings about the process which can make many people scared of it. Below are listed some of the most common misconceptions about probate and why they simply just aren’t true from a probate lawyer Shreveport LA in the office of our friends at Theus Law Offices.
Myth #1: if you have a will your estate will not go through the probate process
Even if you have a well-documented will that names assets and beneficiaries of those assets, it doesn’t mean the state will bypass the probate process.
Taxes and debts of the deceased have to be paid from this state for any property to pass onto a named beneficiary. The will must also be accepted by the court as valid. If the appropriate procedures were not followed for signing a will — or if there’s a disgruntled family member that claims the deceased was unduly influenced at the time of the will — that could be seen as invalid and have to go through the probate process.
Myth #2: The probate process takes years and often decades
It is true that the probate process takes time but rarely does it take over a year. The circumstances of how long the probate process will take are going to depend on each individual case. For the most part, a typical estate can be completed within five months to one year.
In the rare cases that probate lasts longer than a year, it often involves very wealthy estates that continue to earn money after the descendant has passed away. This can also happen if a property is sold or a particularly viable personal asset needs to be appraised and sold.
Myth #3: Nothing is left of the estate after probate because the process is extremely expensive
While probate can be expensive, it is not as much as many people believe. The cost is going to depend on each estate. In some states, there is an event called a summary administration which is a more cost-effective probate shortcut. In the event that the money from the estate is available, the state must proceed through the traditional probate process. The cost of probate is going to depend on individual circumstances.
But the cost of probate is determined by your specific circumstances, and it can be higher or lower than what you were expecting.
The probate process often isn’t easy and that is how we suggest working with a probate lawyer to get a better understanding of what you need.