The disadvantages of probating a will are many. The probate process is expensive, time-consuming, and intrusive. Court costs, attorney fees, personal representative fees, bonds, and accounting fees all add up. Marks Gray, P.A. attorney John R. Crawford details the disadvantages of probate and how to best avoid it. If your estate is probated without a will, the costs of probate may be even greater. The probate process is a notoriously protracted legal procedure. Studies in one state reveal that the median time for settlement is thirteen months. If the probate proceedings are contested, the ensuing legal battle can take several years.
Probate proceedings also intrude on a family’s privacy. Probate proceedings take place in open court where the family’s private financial records are made a public record. The family is forced to reveal for public inspection a listing of all of the family’s savings, investments, and real estate. Also, now that many probate courts are making their records available online, anyone with a computer can easily access your family’s probate records. The estate is vulnerable to attack during probate proceedings from unhappy relatives and to suits from creditors who must receive certain legal notices. It is not unheard of for someone to file a claim in a probate proceeding simply as a way of forcing the estate to settle the claim in order to avoid an expensive legal fight.
Attorney John R. Crawford is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Tax Law. He counsels professionals and business owners in the business, tax, and asset protection, as well as individuals in estate and tax planning matters and elder law issues from both his downtown Jacksonville and The Beaches offices. His practice also includes substantial probate matters as well as formation and reorganization of business entities (including corporations, limited liability matters, and limited family partnerships) and preparation of contracts, including merger/acquisition, and buy/sell agreements. Click the image below to view the video.