Why should you avoid probate?

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2024 | Probate

As you begin your estate planning journey, most professionals you may consult with will often give one piece of advice: avoid probate at all costs. 

Probate is the legal process in which a court oversees the distribution of your assets according to your will or state laws if there is no will. This may sound relatively straightforward, but many attorneys would still advise steering clear of this process, and here are some reasons why.


A probate proceeding can be a long and drawn-out process, taking months or even years to settle potential issues or lawsuits. Delays could also stem from congested court schedules. Nevertheless, this wait can be a frustrating and stressful experience for heirs who might need the financial support the estate could provide.

Additional costs

Like many other legal processes, probate also involves fees and costs. These may include fees for legal representation or personal representatives and other court proceedings expenses. These costs can quickly add up and significantly diminish the value of the state left for the heirs.

Loss of privacy

Probate is a public process, which means the details of a person’s estate become part of the public record as soon as the proceedings begin.

Conflicts can also emerge among family members, especially with the estate open to public scrutiny and legal proceedings. Dissatisfied parties may be more inclined to challenge the will, leading to delays and expenses as the court tries to resolve disputes.

Although probate is a standard legal process, its drawbacks make it understandable why legal professionals would advise you to avoid it. Fortunately, several estate planning tools and strategies are available to help you bypass this legal process, like revocable trusts, joint ownership or payable-on-death accounts. After all, estate planning’s main goal is to distribute your assets in a way that reflects your wishes and benefits your loved ones as efficiently as possible.