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The attorneys of Daughtry, Woodard, Lawrence, & Starling

The pros and cons of probate

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Estate Planning

Probate is court-supervised process which sees the administration of a North Carolina resident’s will or estate after they pass. All wills must go through probate.

However, depending on your estate plan and how you want your assets distributed, you may want to know the advantages and disadvantages of having your estate go through probate.

Advantages of probate

There are some advantages of an estate going through probate. It can:

  • Prove a will or estate is valid, meaning court will check if the will is in line with the intention of the person it belongs to and that it complies with North Carolina law.
  • Help protect an estate from illegal activities such as undue influence and fraud.

It’s important to note that if an individual dies intestate or without a will, their estate automatically goes through probate which divides their assets among their heirs. It will prioritize their spouse, their children, their parents and family members.

Disadvantages of probate

On the other hand, probate can involve some issues. The most common concerns include:

  • Delays: Probate can take anywhere between several months to over a year to complete. This means your heirs will have to wait for the duration of probate before they receive an inheritance.
  • Hefty court fees: Your heirs may have to pay for court fees, taxes and legal fees during probate. Combine this with the timeline of the process and costs can snowball.
  • Privacy: If a will or estate goes through probate, a court-supervised process, the records will be public. This could jeopardize the privacy of an estate and its heirs.

In fact, some online resources even offer tips on how to avoid going into probate.

Many people actively seek to avoid probate because of these cons. It is important to understand the probate process regardless, so you can tailor your estate plan to meet your needs.