Seamus Smith was a guest on Peter Newman’s “Moneyline” KMBZ-980 am radio program on Saturday, May 17, 2008. Seamus discussed gifting (see 4/26/08 blog entry for important gift tax issues) and the disadvantages of probate. Probate is the process by which assets that are titled only in the name of a deceased individual are transferred to such individual’s heirs. The disadvantages of probate can include: (1) attorney, court and personal representative fees, which can exceed 5% of the value of your assets; (2) the triggering of estate tax, which can be at rates of 45% and higher; (3) the state decides who will receive your assets; (4) information about your assets becomes part of the public record; (5) the process takes at least six months; and (6) if any minors receive part of your estate, the court will hold the assets until the minor reaches eighteen and then the court cuts them a check. Probate can usually be avoided with a good estate plan, along with the proper titling of assets.