Why You Should Avoid Probate

Dec 6, 2023 | Legacy & Estate Planning, Planning Playbook

While probate is an important part of the legal system, there are several reasons why it can be undesirable or problematic. Watch this video to learn why probate can be bad for beneficiaries and an estate.

Hi, I’m Dennis Goodwin, Vice President and Wealth Advisor at GreenUp Wealth Management. If you saw the 2019 movie Knives Out, you would have seen a highly dramatized version of family dynamics during probate. The movie follows the investigation of wealthy novelist Harlan Thrombey’s death and the subsequent probate process as Thrombey’s family members squabble over his fortune and try to manipulate the proceedings in their favor.

Let’s discuss what real-life probate is and why and how you can avoid it. Probate is a legal process of administering an estate after a person’s death. While probate is an important part of the legal system, there are several reasons why it can be undesirable or problematic.

Probate can be bad for beneficiaries because the probate process can take several months or even years to complete, which can delay the distribution of assets to beneficiaries and potentially lead to financial hardship.

Probate can be costly. It involves fees for court costs, attorney’s fees, and executor fees. The fees can vary depending on the size and complexity of the estate, and they can reduce the amount of assets that are ultimately distributed to beneficiaries.

Probate can be a source of disputes and conflicts between beneficiaries or family members, particularly if there’s disagreement over how the estate should be divided.

Probate can be bad for an estate because probate is a public process, which means that court documents related to the estate are available for public inspection. This can lead to privacy concerns and make it more difficult to keep family and financial matters confidential.

Probate may limit the control that a person has over how their assets are distributed after their death. The probate court has the final say in how the estate is divided, which may not align with the deceased’s wishes or goals.

While probate is an important part of the legal system, some consider it undesirable or problematic due to its time-consuming, expensive, and public nature. There are a number of estate planning tools that can be used to avoid probate. Talk to your GreenUp Wealth Advisor about making sure your estate plan meets your needs, goals, and wishes. I’m Dennis Goodwin. Thanks for watching.


  • Dennis Goodwin, CMFC®

    Vice President | Wealth Advisor | Kansas City -- Dennis helps clients understand the importance of their financial future and create possibilities through planning and professional advice. Dennis is a Vice President, Wealth Advisor, at Greenup Wealth and brings over two and half decades of financial services experience to the firm. Prior to joining Greenup, Dennis spent eight years as an advisor with one of the largest RIA firms in Kansas City. Dennis’ prior experience within the financial services sector as a sales manager, operations manager, and learning and development specialist, have provided him a great deal of knowledge and experience which he brings to bear in each of his client relationships.

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