The word probate is a concerning one for many people who plan their estates or for people who are designated as executors of an estate. Probate administration carries the stigma of being complex, and while some probate actions can involve areas of law that are not easily understood, probate administration does not always have to be burdensome for Illinois residents.
One of the crucial steps to making probate simpler is to craft a will that is clear in its intentions and stipulations. According to the American Bar Association, a strong will can remove some steps that probate generally involves. Wills can clarify some issues that might lengthen probate, such as stipulating that property be placed in a living trust if the decedent had not done so before passing away.
Also, a lot of the delays and bureaucratic steps usually connected with probate are due to the need to comply with tax filing stipulations and other tax laws. Even living trusts, though they can bypass some aspects of probate, cannot fully circumvent tax requirements. If you are planning to act as an estate executor, preparing to address tax issues in advance can do a lot to simplify the probate process.
Probate can also be simplified by reducing the amount of property and assets that go through probate. Instead of leaving property to be passed on to heirs after they pass away, people can transfer the property to heirs while still living. Individuals can also bypass probate by designating beneficiaries on life insurance policies or by using right of survivorship to pass on real estate or bank accounts.
Additionally, a small estate can make the probate process go faster simply by virtue of its size. In many states, court proceedings for probate are made quicker and more efficient if the estate is valued at or below a particular threshold. These small estate proceedings generally go faster or cost less to complete than they would if a larger estate was involved.
Even with employing actions to make probate proceed more efficiently, executors and those planning their estates should still consider professional legal assistance to handle important legal questions that may come up. Keep in mind that this article is not written to provide legal advice, only to inform readers about probate administration topics.