When you own property, it's usually a good idea to put the property in a trust to avoid probate. If you've made it clear who inherits the real estate when you die, a trust may seem like overkill. However, no matter how airtight your will is, if you don't put the property in a trust and you don't have an heir who would inherit it immediately (such as a spouse), the real estate will go through probate. And yes, this can be as bad as people let on. Placing real estate in a trust makes life a lot easier for people after you pass, while going through probate could create more issues.
Probate Takes a Long Time and Doesn't Always Result in What You Want
Probate takes time. There's no average time, by the way, so it can take a long time if the courts are busy. You can't really do anything with the real estate while it's in probate. That means that if your heirs were going to sell it, for example, they can't do that until the court verifies who owns the real estate per your will. Your heirs can't really rent it out, either. Putting the real estate through probate would turn the property into this thing that loomed over your heirs even if there were no disputes about who would inherit it and what they would do with it. Placing the real estate in a trust allows the successor trustee to give the real estate to the person you said you wanted to be the new owner.
Probate Varies Between States
Even worse, probate varies between states. You can't take care of Texas probate from a court in California. If the property is in another state, your heirs will have to travel there and take care of all of the probate issues through that state's court. If you have real estate in several states, placing it all in a trust is even more urgent as you do not want to saddle your heirs with traveling to all of these states and dealing with several probate processes.
Probate Can Exacerbate Family Rifts
The waiting time for probate can exacerbate family rifts and potentially cause new ones. People who may want to dispute the will can do so, annoying everyone who doesn't support them, and the extended time when your heirs can't do anything with the real estate can grate on their nerves. Probate exists for a reason, but that doesn't mean you have to put real estate through it. Put the property into a revocable living trust so that when you pass on, your heirs don't have to wait to deal with the real estate.
Contact a professional to learn more about putting real estate in a trust.Share
11 August 2022
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