It’s almost impossible to avoid probate completely. This process is necessary to validate the will, pay off debts, settle any disputes from creditors or any other interested parties of the estate and oversee asset distribution. Preparing for probate could help you avoid any issues that may arise that could cause delays in the distribution of assets.
Write a good will
Knowing what you have and who to give it to is not enough. For a will to be valid in Pennsylvania, you must:
- type and print your will using a computer or a typewriter
- sign it along with two witnesses who were present during the execution of the document
- be of sound mind when you drafted the will
- be an adult or emancipated minor
- include all your assets to avoid any discrepancies during probate
Talk to your beneficiaries
Disputes often arise when you surprise your beneficiaries with the contents of your will. In order to avoid this, it’s essential to keep everyone aware of your intentions before drafting the will. This gives them time to address any concerns or questions that they may have and can prevent any misunderstandings that may lead to disputes during asset distributions.
Settle all your debts
Before your executor distributes your assets, they must first pay off all the debts you left behind. This can lead to delays in asset distribution if there are not enough funds to settle these debts. You can avoid this by settling your debts while you are still alive.
If that’s not possible, consider setting up a trust where your trustee will use your assets to settle any outstanding debts before distributing the remaining assets to your beneficiaries.
As you navigate the intricacies of life, it’s essential to keep in mind the lasting impact that your decisions can have on those you leave behind. Probate is a complex process, but you can manage it effectively with comprehensive planning and open communication. Remember, the steps you take today can smooth the path for your loved ones tomorrow.