At Meyring Law Firm, our team of experienced lawyers knows firsthand how complicated estate planning can be. That is why our legal professionals are committed to helping our clients navigate each phase of the legal process so that they feel confident knowing their best interests are protected.
Is Estate Planning Easy?
Over the past few weeks, our founding attorney, Robert S. Meyring, has been volunteer teaching a course titled “Tough Stuff Planning.” While the course features lessons on trusts and probate, it also acknowledges that it’s not easy to make a good estate plan or deal with the probate process.
Clients generally don’t come into our law office feeling excited about making a trust or will. Most people come to us because they realize that making a trust or a will would be the most responsible and overall best thing to do to organize their affairs during their lifetime so that there is an estate plan in place in case of incapacity or death. Another common reason people decide to do estate planning is that they don’t want to leave behind a legal probate mess for loved ones after they pass away.
Since no one wants to think about death and its impact on their family, the planning process tends to get delayed. Unfortunately, this means that people often pass away without a trust or a will to settle their estate. Other times, people will become unexpectedly incapacitated without a power of attorney and without healthcare directives that will allow another person to take control of financial and health decisions.
Preparing for Probate
Robert S. Meyring’s Tough Stuff Planning also covers the necessary probate process by which a probate court gives legal authority to:
- An executor to resolve the estate debts and to distribute the decedent’s estate assets according to the decedent’s will.
- An administrator to resolve the intestate estate without a will and to distribute assets to decedent’s nearest relatives.
The probate court is also the only place where a guardian or a conservator can be established for an incapacitated person if that person loses their capacity permanently. The probate court is also where will-contests and estate disputes are litigated. This means that probate will not be the place you want your estate to go to if you know there will be an estate-fight between surviving family members.
Estate Planning Tips for Tough Decisions
Here are a few of the “take-home“points from Attorney Meyring’s probate lesson:
- With knowledgeable estate planning, that is of an experienced “trusts and estates” specialist attorney, the probate court and process itself can mostly be avoided.
- The life of the person planning will be improved with fewer worries about the common “what-if” scenarios. There is also the benefit of saving on the future costs of expensive probate court proceedings over the estate or possible guardianship.
- By “outside probate,” we mean that after the death of the creator/grantor of a trust, a probate court’s approval is not needed for the surviving family beneficiaries to receive or access property of the trust.
- When more is saved by the person who is planning a trust-based estate plan, by avoiding probate after death, everything saved can add toward that person’s legacy. Through a family trust, outside of probate, more benefit of a decedent’s legacy can be distributed privately and specifically to the surviving family members and trust-named beneficiaries.
To learn more about some of the ways you can save thousands, possibly millions in costs, expenses, time, and stress, please click here to read the next blog in this series.