South Carolina residents who are thinking about going through the estate planning process likely have many questions. One common one is whether or not probate is actually bad. The truth is that it really depends on your individual situation.
What is probate?
Probate is a title proceeding that is used to validate a person’s will or help to determine who is the rightful owner of the deceased person’s assets. In the event that a will is present, probate will be used to validate the will, execute its instructions and pay any taxes owed. In the event that a person dies without a will, the probate court will use its particular state’s intestate law to determine how the assets are to be legally distributed.
Why does probate get a bad rap?
One of the biggest reasons that probate gets a bad rap is that it’s time-consuming. For beneficiaries, it’s much faster to obtain ownership of assets through trusts than it is to wait for the probate process to be completed. Another reason that probate tends to get a bad rap is that it can be expensive. Probate comes with both court fees and executor fees. These tend to be billed by a percentage of the assets. For example, an executor may charge 10% of the total value of the assets that the deceased person owned. Lastly, the probate process means that all the information about the deceased person’s estate is released to the public.
Probate is a term that most people have heard of before when it comes to talking about wills. The reality is that probate has gotten a bad rap over the years. By understanding what the probate process is, you can work to make a more informed decision regarding your estate plans.