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How estate planning makes the probate process easier to manage

On Behalf of | Aug 27, 2023 | Estate Planning

People tend to think of estate planning as a way to protect their interests when they die, which might not motivate the average adult to put together documents. They may trust that their loved ones can split up their assets among themselves.

However, recognition of how estate planning can simplify the probate process for their loved ones might inspire many people to finally draft a will and other estate planning paperwork. Many estates in Pennsylvania are subject to probate requirements. Even those who have planned carefully often cannot ensure that their estates will completely bypass probate court.

An estate plan can take some of the probate-related pressure off of loved ones while they are grieving. How can an estate plan benefit those left behind when someone dies by assisting with probate matters?

The documents can provide clear guidance

Someone tasked with the administration of a loved one’s estate will very likely worry about accurately upholding their wishes. There will be less concern about mismanaging assets or distributing them improperly when a testator has taken the time to earmark specific assets for individuals by name in writing. The decision to allocate specific assets to particular beneficiaries can also guide any liquidation that may need to occur to pay off creditors and fulfill tax obligations by allowing the person managing the estate to sell assets not intended for specific beneficiaries first.

Written instructions can reduce the risk of conflict

Probate proceedings often trigger damaging disputes among family members who expect to inherit certain property. One family member with a sense of entitlement could drag everyone through probate court by demanding more than their fair share of the estate. People may join together to challenge the decisions of the representative of the estate or to try to remove them from their position.

When families recognize an estate plan as a reflection of someone’s last wishes, they may be less likely to fight with one another or to challenge the estate planning paperwork in probate court. Even if they try to challenge the estate plan, they are less likely to succeed when someone took the time to create a thorough estate plan.

From identifying assets to pay off someone’s financial responsibilities to distributing their most cherished possessions among their closest family members, the steps involved in estate administration can lead to conflict and sometimes emotional turmoil. Those who engage in careful estate planning measures can help to reduce the stress and conflict often involved in Pennsylvania probate proceedings accordingly.