Nosey Neighbor Nellie Can Find Out About Your Probate. Really.
Most people think of probate as a private process. However, since wills are filed at the courthouse, probated estates become a matter of public record. That means your nosey neighbor Nellie can simply go down to the courthouse or hop online and find out about your probate. Really.
Posted on December 15, 2015
It's Not Just Nellie That Has Access...
After a death, most states require that whoever has possession of the deceased person’s will must file it with the probate court – even if there won’t be any probate court proceedings. While Nellie may be an annoyance and have no other reason to view the information other than curiosity, others can get access to your public records and make your beneficiaries’ lives miserable, such as:
- Financial predators. While today's digital world is convenient, it's also dangerous. Financial predators find ways to access information online. Since courts are part of a bureaucratic process that often moves slower than a glacier, months can elapse before you (or the court) realizes that your beneficiaries have been swindled.
- Charities. Even the most well-meaning charities can become an annoyance when money is considered “up for grabs.” This is especially true in an estate situation when those inheriting assets want to do the right thing and honor their loved one.
- Will challengers. Public record documents such as probate provide those with an interest (whether valid or invalid) to challenge the will. This can equate to added costs and time defending the will.
Avoid the “Nosey Nellie” Factor with A Trust
Trusts are never filed with a court, either before or after your death. Probate courts are not involved in supervising your trust administration. So, you can avoid busy bodies and predators by creating a trust. While some state laws require a total, or partial, disclosure of the trust to beneficiaries, it is still the best way to keep your legal affairs private. Did you hear that, Nellie?
Contact us today and let us help you create a trust to avoid probate and keep your family and financial affairs private.
More from our blog…
What Is a Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT)?
A qualified personal residence trust (QPRT) is an irrevocable trust used to achieve estate and gift tax savings. The basic idea behind a QPRT is to [...]
Limited Power of Attorney in Estate Planning
A power of attorney (POA) is a document that authorizes one or more parties (known as the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”) to act on behalf of [...]
What Is IRMAA and How Does It Affect My Medicare Premiums?
As we near retirement, we may assume that once Medicare kicks in, our medical insurance premiums will be fixed. However, many people may not realize that [...]
What Is Memory Care, and What Are Its Benefits?
Memory care is specialized care for patients living with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other conditions that cause memory loss. Hospitals and nursing homes may have memory [...]