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Why Do Some People Cringe When They Hear the Word “Probate?”

September 30, 2021

Whenever people talk about probate, they tend to make it sound like it’s a nightmare for everyone who undergoes the process. While it’s true that probate can be a complicated process – and that some instruments like trusts might be more advantageous for people with diversified assets – they don’t have to be prohibitively hard. Our Springfield probate lawyers can help you get started with a probate plan that works for you.

Below, we review what probate is, how it works, and why it’s really not as bad as you think.

Understanding Probate

For all intents and purposes, probate is a title proceeding. If a person who died owned property, that property must now transfer to a new rightful owner. But who might that owner be? Probate is the procedure through which that property gets passed down to someone else. 

Whether or not there is a will is critical to the probate process. When someone passes away having left a will, and that will was appropriately filed with the correct office, the executor of the will (usually a lawyer or a trusted family member) notifies everyone who has an interest in the will that they will soon be distributing its contents. At that point, anyone who wants to contest the will has to come forward. However, when someone passes away without a will, then the question of who gets their property is a little more complex. 

In the event of a lack of a will, the property would pass on according to the laws of that state. In Missouri, your children will inherit your property so long as they have been legally recognized as your offspring. If you have no children, then your property would go to your next of kin, such as a sibling or a parent.

What’s the Problem With Probate?

Probate is a fairly simple and logical process, but it gets its bad reputation because sometimes professional fees can spiral out of control. The executor or administrator, along with your Springfield probate lawyers, must be compensated, but they must also be efficient and aware of your budget. In particular, the duties of the executor and advisor go far beyond just the probate process – they are responsible for filing and paying your estate taxes, and any state or inheritance taxes, as well. That’s why so many people tend to choose a trusted family member or friend to handle the execution of their will – usually, a family member will waive any fees associated with getting your probate handled for you.

Work with Springfield Probate Lawyers You Trust

Some attorneys tend to charge a percentage of the total of your estate as their fee, but your attorneys should instead work with you to come to a fee that reflects the amount of work involved in processing your estate in probate. Our Springfield probate lawyers are here and willing to work within your needs. Contact our offices today.