In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson discusses probate and the loss of privacy that occurs for those involved with a will in probate. Since a will in probate is made a matter of public record, anyone can find out what the will says, the names and addresses of the beneficiaries, and an inventory of the estate. While you may not want everyone to know your business, it’s even worse when scam artists get the information.
Probate and Loss of Privacy
Hi, I’m Wes Coulson, and this is your Elder Law Minute.
One of the overlooked disadvantages of probate is the loss of privacy that’s involved. When a will is probated, not only is the will made a matter of public record, but also things like the name and address of all of the beneficiaries and an inventory showing exactly what the estate consists of.
Now, not only is that the sort of information that you want to keep away from nosy neighbors and relatives; it also raises a real concern about scam artists. In fact, the probate records are one of the main places that they look for victims. If you knew that, for instance, Mary was about to inherit $250,000 and you had her name and address, those are great leads in separating Mary from the money. That’s why we favor the use of living trusts for most people who do estate planning. Thanks!
For more on Wills and Living Trusts, visit these articles:
- Wills, Living Trusts and Powers of Attorney: How often should they be updated?
- Sweetheart Wills and Trusts: Are they the best option?
- Safeguarding Your Estate Plan