Torzewski & McInerney, LLC

Morris County Estate Planning And Litigation Lawyers

Schedule A Consultation

Personal Attention And A Professional Approach

Home » Estate Planning » What are some common myths about probate?

Probate is the legal process through which the estate of a deceased person gets administered and distributed according to their will. It involves validating the deceased person’s will (if one exists), identifying and inventorying their assets, settling their debts and taxes and distributing the remaining assets to their beneficiaries or heirs.

Probate is a term often associated with confusion and uncertainty. However, several common myths about probate can exacerbate this confusion.

Myth 1: Probate is lengthy and expensive

Probate does not always drag on for extended periods of time. While it is true that probate can be time-consuming and involve certain expenses, particularly for complex estates, many straightforward cases can get resolved relatively quickly.

Myth 2: Everything goes through probate

Not all assets are subject to probate. Assets with designated beneficiaries, such as life insurance policies and retirement accounts, typically bypass probate and get distributed directly to the named beneficiaries.

Myth 3: Probate is public and invades privacy

While probate proceedings are a matter of public record, this does not mean that every detail of the estate becomes public knowledge. Many documents filed during probate, such as inventories and accountings, can remain confidential unless specifically requested by interested parties.

Myth 4: Probate leads to family disputes

While disputes among family members can arise during probate, they are not an inevitable consequence of the process. Clear communication, transparency and proper estate planning can help minimize the likelihood of conflicts.

Probate is a standard process, and in many cases, it does not last very long. The complexity and length of the probate process depend on the individual estate and what it includes.