Under ideal circumstances, a decedent’s estate in Ohio should be settled within six months after the probate case is initially opened. This is, in fact, the quickest that a probate case can be settled. There are benefits to being able to wrap up a probate case quickly. For example, assets tend to lose value over time, so the sooner they are distributed the more value there tends to be for the heirs or beneficiaries. A probate case that continues for a long period typically does so because there is some dispute or claim against the estate, which can mean increased attorney’s and other experts’ fees.
While a dispute or legal issue can cause any estate’s administration to be prolonged, there are time-saving advantages to having an estate plan in place. This can not only save your heirs and beneficiaries time but also help them receive the maximum amount of value from your estate.
Estate Planning May Help Your Executor in Notifying Heirs and Inventorying Assets
One of the early tasks that your executor or administrator will need to do is to notify your legal heirs of your passing and the opening of a probate case. Your executor will also need to inventory the assets of the estate and provide a report to the court as well as the heirs and beneficiaries as to what property comprises the estate. An estate plan that is up-to-date can help cut down the amount of time needed for the executor to complete these tasks. This is because an estate plan should identify the heirs of the person as well as (at least) the major assets of the person.
Estate Planning May Keep Some Items Out of Probate
Depending on your goals and needs, your estate plan may also keep some assets from passing through probate altogether. Assets like insurance policies and retirement accounts will generally pass directly to the named beneficiary without having to be distributed in a probate proceeding. However, assets that are given over to a trust and that are titled in the name of the trust may also pass outside of probate. Fewer items needing to pass through probate can mean a smaller estate, and smaller estates tend to be resolved more swiftly and with fewer complications than larger estates.
An Estate Plan Should Clearly Indicate Who is to Receive What Property
One of the biggest benefits to having an estate plan is placed is that it can provide direction for your heirs, beneficiaries, and administrator as to how you want your assets to be distributed. Even if a person is upset with what they did or did not receive under the terms of a will or trust, a well-crafted estate plan may dissuade such a person from attempting to challenge the distribution. This means that your heirs and beneficiaries may receive the items you wanted them to receive sooner than they would if you died without an estate plan.
Contact a Columbus Estate Planning Law Firm Today
The old adage is true: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Having an estate plan in place that is updated regularly can help prevent your estate from languishing unnecessarily in a probate proceeding. This will help your heirs and beneficiaries receive the assets you want to give them sooner and with more of the original value of these assets intact. Call Dawes Legal, LLC at (614) 733-9999 and schedule an estate planning consultation with us. Learn how we can help you take charge of your future and best provide for your loved ones.