4 All Too Common Myths about the Probate Process (Debunked)
March 28th, 2016
Unfortunately, common misconceptions about the Ohio probate process abound, creating frustration and confusion and occasionally leading to procrastination. Probate does not need to be an overwhelming or stressful experience. First things first, let’s debunk four surprisingly common myths about the process:
Myth #1: The government will take everything.
Although the laws vary from state to state, a spouse and any surviving children usually inherit the estate. If the deceased has no immediate family, the assets can still go to a distant relative. The assets only go to the state if no relatives can be found.
Myth #2: If the government doesn’t take the assets, than creditors and other predators will raid what’s left.
Your estate may face serious threats from creditors and others, such as a new spouse seeking to swindle your wife or husband out of the assets you leave behind for him or her. However, if you plan properly and establish appropriate instruments, like a well-drafted trust, you can ensure your wishes and protect those you love.
Myth #3: Probate costs a lot of money.
The fees associated with the probate process are usually less than 5% of the estate’s total value. That said, the cost of probate can go up significantly if legal disputes over the estate arise. Better estate planning can reduce the likelihood of annoying and costly disputes.
Myth #4: Probate is always a lengthy process.
Attorneys can settle most estates within a year. You must go through a required waiting period to allow creditors to file claims, and the duration may vary from state to state. But once the estate pays all debts and taxes, the executor can close the estate.
Sometimes, the probate process takes longer than a year. If someone challenges the will or the division of assets, or if the estate is very large, it may take more time to complete the necessary paperwork.
Gudorf Law Group works with executors and family members to support them throughout the probate process. For assistance with managing estate issues, reducing the estate’s tax burden, and resolving disputes, please call our experienced team of attorneys at 1-937-898-5583 for a consultation.