We will share some information about the Uniform Probate Code (UPC) in this post, but before we get there, we will provide an explanation of the probate process in general.
When an estate plan consists of only a will, or when no estate plan exists, the probate court provides supervision during the administration process. The hands-on administration tasks are completed by the executor of the estate.
The probate process exists for multiple reasons. In addition to the transfer of assets to beneficiaries, the court examines the will to determine its validity. Probate also exists to give creditors a chance to seek payment before the estate is distributed. While fairly rare, the court also handles any challenges to the will.
Uniform Probate Code
Toward the end of the 1950s, members of the legal community recognized the fact that the probate laws should be updated to streamline the process. In 1963, work began on a Uniform Probate Code. Ultimately, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) worked in tandem with the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the American Bar Association to produce the final product. It was released in 1969, and 16 states adopted the UPC immediately. In 1990, the UPC was revised and there are now a total of 18 states that have adopted it in its entirety. Many other states use only portions of the code, and Kansas and Oklahoma are among those states.
Even if the probate process is as efficient as possible, the process is cumbersome and time-consuming. Multiple steps are required. The executor must inventory the assets and prepare them for distribution to the beneficiaries. Creditors must be afforded time to come forward. Will challenges by disgruntled individuals can occur and add time to the process.
From a privacy standpoint, probate is a public procedure, so anyone can access the records.
Expenses accumulate during probate as well, including the executor’s fee, court costs, appraisal and liquidation charges, and legal and accounting fees. These expenses reduce the value of the estate before it is distributed to the heirs.
By establishing an estate plan, you can avoid probate and its drawbacks for your loved ones. The most widely embraced solution is the revocable living trust. If you establish this type of trust, you act as the trustee so have total control of the resources in the trust. You may name a successor trustee to assume the role after your passing, and may name your heirs or others as the beneficiaries. In addition, you may provide instructions in the trust with regard to the manner of distribution to your beneficiaries. After your passing, the trustee must follow your directions, and your estate will avoid probate altogether.
We Are Here to Help!
Now is the time for action if you are going through life without an estate plan, and we can help you adjust your existing plan if revisions are necessary. In light of the pandemic, we are offering remote consultations, so you can get the help that you need from the comfort of your home.
You can schedule a consultation at our office in Overland Park, Kansas if you give us a call at 913-385-9400. The number in Oklahoma City is 405-843-6100, and there is a contact form on this site if you prefer to send a message.