An Overview of the Probate Process in Alabama

If you’ve ever had to go through probate court in Alabama, you know that it is a difficult, and often expensive, process. If you haven’t gone through probate, then this blog is for you. Learning more about why some estates have to go through probate, and how this can be avoided, is a good first step in planning your estate in such a way as to protect your loved ones from having to go through probate when you’re gone. It is never too early to start estate planning, so read on to learn about the probate process and how it can impact you and your loved ones.

When Does an Estate Have to Go Through Probate?
An estate will need to go through the probate courts in a variety of situations. The most common is when someone dies without a Will or other estate planning tools in place. In many situations, a Will by itself isn’t going to be sufficient because if a Will is contested, the estate will still need to go through the probate process.

Why Should I Avoid Probate When Possible?
It is best to keep your estate out of probate courts for a variety of reasons. The following are some of the most important points:

  • Providing for Your Loved Ones – The probate process can be quite costly. The expenses associated with having an estate go through probate will often come out of the estate itself. This means your loved ones will receive much less than you intended after the court and attorney’s fees are paid out.
  • Save Time – When an estate has to go through probate court it can take weeks, months, or even years to complete the process. This wastes a lot of time, and keeps your beneficiaries from having access to their inheritance in a timely manner.
  • Retaining Privacy – Probate courts are open to the public, which means anything in your estate that goes through probate will become public knowledge. This includes the size of your estate, and what specific assets you own. If there are any disputes between your loved ones, those will become public knowledge as well.

How Can You Avoid Probate?

If you are inheriting some or all of an estate from a loved one, there are some legal steps that can be taken to avoid probate. You can set up your estate plans with the help of an estate planning lawyer like John Totten so that it’s designed to avoid probate. You can also use tools such as Trusts to completely eliminate the need for your loved ones to have to go through the probate process. Contact us to discuss the specific things you can do to protect your estate, and provide for your loved ones, after you’re gone.

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Written by John M. Totten

John M. Totten

John's office is in Athens, Alabama, where he has helped thousands of people in North Alabama with everything from family law issues, to catastrophic injury and death cases, to criminal defense.