On top of the grief that the death of a loved one causes, living relatives still must navigate the complicated waters of probate. It is the default process to handle a decedent’s assets and property after their death and, without a prior plan, rolls on based on state law rather than family wishes.
This process, when unplanned for, risks several complications that may extend the process and potentially make it more expensive.
Debts after death
One common step in the probate process is that executors of the estate must allow any creditors to make claims against the estate. According to Debt.org, more than 70% of Americans are likely to die with debt. Considering that, it is useful to understand the exact situation of a loved one’s contracts and debts. Having a handle on that before a death may help to deal with it afterwards.
Some beneficiaries may disagree with a decedent’s will or feel the personal representative or executor has ulterior motives. These contests tend to extend and complicate the process. Having an estate plan written so that there is no room for misinterpretation may help avoid these points of confusion.
Estates below the limit
Some loved ones may be able to avoid the probate process entirely by shifting to a small estate administration. According to Arizona statutes, anyone with a total estate of less than $75,000 in assets or income may qualify for this.
It is important to plan for the future. Drafting an estate plan ahead of time or establishing trusts designed to avoid complications may help. But there are still options for those living relatives who need to navigate probate after their loved one dies.