People often spend a lot of time and energy attempting to plan their estate carefully. The end goal is both the ability to control how their assets get distributed after they die and minimizing the risk of probate court for their families. Any estate that does not have a plan or a last will will likely wind up in probate court. The same is true for any estate challenged or contested by a family member or potential heir.
Probate courts review the assets of the deceased and determine how best to divide those up under Tennessee law. Individuals who die without a last will get referred to as having died intestate. The law specifically provides for handling intestate estates, typically with the spouse and children of the deceased receiving the assets of the estate.
If you don’t like the idea of planning an estate, you may wonder why it is necessary if the state will just end up giving the money to your family. The truth is that there are very good reasons to avoid probate court, even if you won’t be alive to witness the process.
Probate court cuts into your accumulated assets
Your family will have to pay a significant amount of money for every day that your estate winds its way through the courts. Additionally, if your family becomes embattled over your assets, they will likely employ the services of at least one, if not several, probate attorneys.
It is possible for all of that expense to wind up coming out of your legacy. Instead of leaving behind a significant amount for your family, your estate may quickly become smaller as a result of probate entanglements.
Creating an estate plan can save money over a protracted probate process. It can also help you control assets through the use of a trust and even to minimize tax liability on your estate.
Avoiding probate can keep the peace in your family
Nothing destroys familial bonds faster than a fight over money. The more assets you have to leave behind, the greater the incentive for your heirs and family members to become greedy and fight with one another.
Creating an ironclad and legally sound estate plan is the best way to avoid contributing to conflicts after your passing. While it can be quite stressful to develop an estate plan, doing so protects you, your legacy and your family from the complications that arise from an intestate estate.
A well-planned estate moves assets more quickly
Going through probate court can take months of waiting, followed by many hearings and more waiting. No one in the family can typically access or use assets from the estate until the end of the probate process. Creating a thorough estate plan helps ensure the fastest possible distribution of assets.
There are many reasons why families want to avoid probate court, including how it affects financial privacy. Avoiding probate court is just one reason to create an estate plan, but it is a compelling one.