Many Georgia estates end up going through probate. Understanding what this is and how you can avoid it can help you protect your estate and heirs in the future.
What is probate?
Probate is the legal process that a person’s estate goes through after they have passed away. During the proceeding, the court distributes assets and property from the decedent’s estate to their heirs.
If a person dies without a will, it can make the probate process more expensive, public and take longer. A will can help to simplify things by naming an executor and beneficiaries to the person’s estate. The executor is in charge of overseeing the decedent’s final wishes and ensuring that beneficiaries receive everything that was intended for them.
How can you avoid probate?
If a person dies without a will, their estate might go through probate for a few years. Everything ends up on public record, which can be burdensome for the individual’s surviving family members. There are also a variety of fees associated with probate. However, there are several things that can be done to avoid the process.
One of the first things to do to prevent probate from being a burden is to create a will. Although some estates still go through the process when there is a will, it can be faster and easier with one. A living trust can also ease probate as it lets the person hold certain assets and property, keeping it separate from their estate. This can help those things get to beneficiaries faster.
Smaller estates often don’t have to go through probate or might have an expedited process. A person can also avoid probate when they give assets away to family members and friends while they’re still alive. This can help reduce the size of their estate and can even reduce taxes.