It might well be said that it is not probate itself that Rocky Mount, North Carolina, residents dread but rather the idea that, after their deaths, their loved ones are going to be waiting years, and spending a lot of money, time and emotional energy, while their estates get processed by a court.

However, even if it is otherwise best for a person to expose their estate to probate, say by having a simple will instead of a trust or other document, there are still ways to make sure the process goes as efficiently as possible.

For one, making sure one has nominated a good, trustworthy and competent personal representative can save valuable time in probate. A person who has the time to handle the affairs of the estate and who can be organized and knowledgeable enough to martial an estate’s assets and debts and divide them according to the law is always better than someone who has to be closely supervised, or even forced, to do his or her job.

Other important step a person can take is to make sure that, in his or her will, beneficiaries are clearly identified. It may be helpful to, in a separate location, have information on how to contact those beneficiaries, particularly if they are distant relatives or otherwise will be harder to make official contact with.

Although this is ultimately up to the person making the will, if there is some way of, in a friendly manner, cutting back on the number of named beneficiaries, that can also speed up the process.

Finally, if a person has something that is going to be hard to sell or put a value on, some specific guidance in the will could be helpful.