Three Key Facts About Probate Processing

If you've recently lost a loved one, you may be trying to sort out how to deal with their estate. One of the biggest challenges can come when the estate has to go through probate. If you've never had to go through this legal process, you'll want to contact a probate lawyer right away. He or she can help you work through it and understand what's coming. However, there are a few things that you should know up front to help you manage your expectations.

Probate Takes Time

Don't expect that the probate process is going to be over quickly. While the funeral services and life insurance processing is fairly simple, probate will take time. You'll typically be looking at a minimum of six months, but it can take much longer than that if anyone is contesting the will or trying to seek access to assets. Especially when you have family members who are questioning the validity of the will or believe that they were owed more than what was left to them, you'll need to have a lot of patience. Having a probate lawyer on your side throughout the process can help ease the strain and move things along.

You'll Pay A Percentage Of The Estate For Probate

The probate process isn't free. You'll typically pay a small percentage of the total value of the estate to cover the probate costs. Those costs include things like appraisal fees, CPA fees, court costs, bond premiums, attorney fees, and the general probate expense. You can expect to pay as much as five or six percent of the total estate value when probate is over.

There's No Privacy Through Probate

You may think that you can keep your family member's estate private and off the public record after they've passed away, but if it goes into the probate process, it's going to become public information. You can't typically have the probate records sealed without a significant exception. In most cases, everything about the probate process and the estate will be publicly accessible. This includes a full inventory of the estate, the will that was filed with the courts, the information for the personal representative handling the estate, and even the final distribution result once the process is finished. The biggest thing to remember about this is that it means anyone can find out who has been left an inheritance as part of the estate. It can make them a target of those seeking money, so be aware.