If you're in the process of completing your will, you want to make sure that you do everything you can to help your family avoid probate once you're gone. In case you're not sure what it is, probate is the process by which your will goes through the court system before your assets are divided among your beneficiaries. While it might seem like something that would be helpful, it's not – in most cases. In fact, the probate process can turn a simple procedure into a complex legal mess that will take years to sort through. Here are just three of the reasons why you should make sure your family can avoid probate.

The Process Can Take Years

When you have a will, it's required to go through the probate process after you pass away. Once it's filed, it proceeds through the court system. Unfortunately, once it's in the court system, it must proceed at the current rate of other probate cases. If the court is backlogged, it could be years before your will is properly processed. During that time, your estate cannot be touched – by anyone. That means your loved ones may be waiting years to utilize the proceeds from your estate. That can be devastating for your family, especially if they're depending on those proceeds.

Your Will Becomes Public Record

After your will is sent through the probate court, it becomes a matter of public record. While that might not seem like an important issue, it can pose a safety risk for your loved ones. This is particularly true if you've left items of value to your loved ones. Anyone who wants to do a public records search could locate the family members who received items of value from your estate. At that point, your loved ones become easy targets for criminals.

Your Creditors Can Demand Payment

As soon as your will is submitted to the probate court, your creditors are notified. If they choose, they can file a claim with the courts to receive payment from the proceeds of your estate. If that happens, your creditors will take precedence over your loved ones. If you have a considerable amount of debt, your loved ones could be left with nothing once your creditors are paid.

If you're in the process of writing your will, talk to your attorney about estate planning. Your attorney will be able to help you develop a plan that will allow your loved ones to avoid probate.