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Common estate planning mistakes that make probate take longer

On Behalf of | May 17, 2022 | Estate Planning

Probate can seem like an intimidating word as you consider your estate plan. You may hear people talking about probate as a long ordeal that can make dealing with the loss of a loved one challenging.

You may have friends and family who go to great lengths to avoid probate. However, when you create a thorough estate plan and talk to your personal representative about your documents, you can simplify the probate process.

Here are two mistakes that tend to make probate take longer (and how you can avoid them).

Unaccounted for debt or assets

After your personal representative files your will to start the probate process, they will need to inventory your assets to determine how they need to proceed. Before your assets can go to your beneficiaries, your estate will need to pay any unresolved debts and taxes.

When it is difficult to track down a creditor, there can be a lengthy process of notifying them and waiting for them to respond. This process can extend probate by weeks or months.

You can help your personal representative deal with your estate’s debts by keeping a record of your creditors and how your personal representative can contact them. If you keep this record updated, it can be much simpler for your personal representative to make contact. Also, you should show your personal representative where they can find the information, so they know what resources are available to them.

No contact information

After coordinating payment for any debts or taxes, your personal representative will need to distribute any of your remaining assets to the beneficiaries listed in your estate plan. While your beneficiaries might be people you were close to, your personal representative may have lost touch or never met them.

When creating the documents to go with your estate plan, you should include contact information for your beneficiaries. It is equally important to keep the contact information updated so that your personal representative can find everyone on your list.

While these may seem like minor details, they can make the probate process faster and simpler for your personal representative.