Probate is a legal process that takes place after an individual passes away. It involves the administration and distribution of the deceased person’s estate, which includes their assets, debts and possessions.
The primary goals of probate are to validate the deceased person’s will, pay any outstanding debts or taxes and distribute the remaining assets to the rightful beneficiaries. Although probate is a standard, common process, many myths about it persist.
Probate is a lengthy, complicated process
While probate can take some time, especially for complex estates, not all cases last for an extended period of time. The duration often depends on factors such as the size of the estate, existing legal documentation and any potential disputes among beneficiaries.
All assets go through probate
According to the American Bar Association, not all assets go through probate. Certain assets, such as jointly owned property, life insurance proceeds with designated beneficiaries and assets held in trust, typically bypass the probate process.
Probate is a completely public process
There is a misconception that probate exposes all details of the estate publicly. While probate proceedings are a matter of public record, the extent of information available to the public may vary.
Probate is only for the wealthy
Some individuals believe that probate is only relevant for the wealthy. In reality, probate applies to estates of varying sizes. The complexity of the probate process may depend on factors beyond the estate’s value, such as the number of beneficiaries and the presence of creditors.
Dispelling these common myths allows individuals to approach the probate process with a more accurate understanding of how it works. This can help facilitate a smoother resolution of estate matters.