Worried about Probate? Steer Clear of These Common Mistakes

If you’re concerned about the potential complications and delays associated with the probate process, there are several critical mistakes you can avoid to streamline the transfer of your assets and provide a smoother experience for your beneficiaries. Firstly, one common error is neglecting to create a comprehensive estate plan. Failing to establish a will or trust that clearly outlines your wishes for asset distribution can lead to a lengthy and costly probate process. To prevent this, consult with an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you create a well-structured plan that minimizes the need for probate or simplifies the process if it becomes necessary.

Another mistake to avoid is not keeping your estate plan up to date. Life circumstances change, and so should your estate plan. Failing to revise your plan after significant events like marriage, divorce, the birth of children, or acquiring substantial assets can result in an outdated plan that doesn’t accurately reflect your current wishes. This can lead to confusion and disputes during probate. Regularly reviewing and updating your estate plan ensures that it remains relevant and effective, reducing the potential for probate-related issues.

Lastly, don’t overlook the importance of designating beneficiaries and joint ownership for certain assets. Assets with designated beneficiaries, such as life insurance policies and retirement accounts, typically bypass the probate process. Similarly, joint ownership or transfer-on-death (TOD) designations on bank accounts and real estate can help transfer assets directly to intended recipients. By taking these steps, you can significantly minimize the assets subject to probate and simplify the distribution of your estate. Avoiding these mistakes can go a long way in ensuring a more efficient and less burdensome probate process for your loved ones.

If we can assist you with creating your estate plan or updating an existing plan, call Eastham Law Offices at 561-395-6800 or fill out our contact form and we will be in touch to schedule an appointment.