While estate planning in Louisiana, the term probate comes up fairly often. CNN Money describes probate as the legal process that takes place after a person passes away. The process entails verifying the authenticity of a will and then distributing assets. When there is no will, then probate court must make the decisions as to how assets are divided. It may sound simple enough, but probate can be costly in time and money.
In addition to this, probate is a public process. As Forbes explains, anyone can look up the records to see what an individual’s net worth was at the time of their passing, what they owed, what they owned and how it will all be distributed. Individuals who value their privacy or would like to keep their beneficiaries’ inheritance out of public knowledge may consider avoiding probate. One way to avoid probate is by using trusts, while some assets avoid probate by operation of law.
While the inconvenience of probate is clear, there might be some benefits of letting the law run its course. Families with a history of contesting wills or otherwise feuding over inheritances are perhaps better off allowing assets to go through probate. This helps to reduce any likelihood of the executor doing something underhanded and makes it possible for all beneficiaries — as well as those who were disinherited — to verify what they were allotted via public records.
Probate is no cure-all for family feuds over inheritances, but for families who foresee the likelihood of this happening, probate often offers the safest course. Thankfully, some states have invested resources in improving their probate courts, so the process may neither be as expensive nor as time-consuming as it once was.