Is Probate Right for You?
Probate is a judicial proceeding in which a judge supervises the disposition of a person’s assets after they pass. In Idaho, probate is required if you own real estate (unless that real estate is placed in a Living Trust), or if you have assets worth over $100,000. Probate costs vary but typically range between $3,000 to $5,000. Probate takes a minimum of six months.
In some situations, taking your estate through probate makes sense. It can be a good forum to sort out complex creditor issues. Court intervention also helps resolve family disputes over disposition of your estate.
However, for many people, probate is an unnecessary hassle. Although probate is often described as “a relatively easy process” in Idaho, keep in mind that probate requires your heirs to hire an attorney who is paid from the proceeds of the estate, potentially attend Court hearings in Idaho, prepare and file an inventory of all of your assets with the Court -- which is available to the public, and wait a minimum of six months to complete the probate process. All of these steps must be taken during a period when your heirs are coping with the loss of a loved one.
In contrast, with a Revocable Living Trust, your trustee simply distributes your assets pursuant to the terms you set. In contrast to probate, a trustee typically has a single meeting with an attorney to discuss his or her responsibilities. After that, the trustee simply goes about the business of distributing your assets. There is no Court supervision and no public fillings. The only people who know the value of your estate are your beneficiaries, and, if you so choose, the beneficiaries may only know the amount they have inherited, and not the total value of your estate. Click here for more information about the benefits of having a Revocable Living Trust.