Although avoiding probate is a good plan for many individuals, you may decide that you want your estate to be probated if any of the following are true:
1. The cost and effort of probate avoidance exceed the expected expense of probate. A revocable living trust is the principal tool for avoiding probate. A revocable living trust is typically more expensive to have prepared than a simple will. Even once it is created, the trust must be maintained until death. The costs associated with a revocable living trust sometimes exceed the expected cost of probate. This could be the case if you have a small estate that qualifies for simplified or expedited probate procedures. If you bring your estate planning attorney an inventory of your assets, he or she can advise you whether avoiding probate will likely save you money in the long run.
2. You expect challenges to your estate plan. If you expect your estate plan to be challenged by disgruntled relatives, friends, or associates who are likely to be unhappy with your choices, probate offers an efficient forum in which to resolve the conflict. Challenges to a will or living trust are rare, and the grounds are limited and difficult to prove. They include fraud, undue influence, duress, or mental incompetence.
3. You have significant complex debt problems. Probate may be an advantage if you have many creditors. When an estate is probated, creditors have a deadline by which they must file claims against the estate. If a creditor misses the deadline, the debt is extinguished. Valid claims must be paid before your estate is administered. Your heirs or beneficiaries get their inheritance without worrying about creditors appearing to claim some or all of it.