Either you will encounter the probate of an estate or you already have.
If you haven’t dealt with probate directly, then the encounter may
actually be someone else handling yours. How will someone else handle
your probate if you have never specified how you want your estate probated?
wills and trusts
are for: to direct an executor or a trustee what to do with your money,
real estate, investments and sometimes businesses and family wealth at
the time you expire. Intestacy is about letting the state of your residence
decide who gets your life’s legacy.
What about avoiding probate? Is that a good idea? I find that most people
have no understanding if avoiding probate would be good, or just a waste
of effort. A person can avoid probate if they have no property in their
name, but how can a person give away all their property during their lifetime?
Here are a few tips for those who can think beyond themselves and realize
that estate planning and the ability to control what happens in probate
is about taking care of one’s family, making important arrangements
before it’s too late, and leaving a legacy for the benefit of the
surviving spouse, children, and friends.
The will is the most common method of determining who gets what from an
estate. The will must be brought to the probate court and filed with a
petition and answers to questions about the estate. The will is also publicly
filed at the time of probate. There are the costs of filing fees, attorney's
fees, and the time and effort necessary to file probate if a person files
probate without the help of an attorney. The executor named in the will
can be sued if somebody does not agree with the will - that’s called
a will contest.
The trust is the most reliable estate planning instrument that can avoid
probate if it is set up and managed properly. Also a trust can help manage
one’s assets currently especially if there is real estate owned
in several states. Trusts can sometimes reduce the death tax burden on
an estate and can defer future death taxes assessed on an estate allowing
beneficiaries to earn interest off of trust funds.
A good thing about trusts is that trusts are private agreements which do
not need to be filed with the probate court. Everything in a trust can
be kept secret from the whole world including litigious, sometimes greedy
relatives. If the trust details are secret and the trustee is unknown,
then grasping claimants can never file a lawsuit because there’s
no one against which serve the complaint.
A great thing about trusts is that trusts can also be used to help raise
children who may be left behind by providing money for healthcare, education,
financial management, and general support that may last for years and
sometimes for generations.
Of course, if you have no property at all, then intestacy and no probate
of your estate may be what’s best for you. But how do you really
know what’s best unless you seek the advice of a
wills, trusts, estates and probate attorney
Robert S. Meyring of Meyring Law Firm offers complimentary 10 minute phone
evaluations at 678-217-4369 firstname.lastname@example.org